Following a string of fires in the South Sheffield, Blue River area, representatives of the American Red Cross and the Kansas City, MO Fire Department met at the Whatsoever Community Center at 12th and Ewing to distribute and install free smoke detectors and speak with area residents on the importance of having working smoke alarms.
According to Kansas City Fire Department Fire Education Specialist Jake Burch, the goal is to get a working smoke alarm in as many homes as they can. “That’s the first thing that’s gonna alert you to get out of the house when there’s a fire,” Burch said. “When you’re in REM sleep, your nose isn’t going to work, nothing is going to alert you, so a smoke detector is pretty much your only line of defense.”
Angie Springs, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross of Greater Kansas City and Northwest Missouri echoed Burch’s comments. “We’re teaming up with the Fire Department to canvas the neighborhood and talk with residents about the importance of having working smoke detectors in the home, as well as having a preparedness plan if a fire occurs,” Springs said.
A number of fires of suspicious nature have occurred in the Eastern Sheffield neighborhood recently. One fire on Winchester Avenue resulted in a fatality. Both Burch and Springs stressed that free smoke detectors are available either through the city or through the American Red Cross.
Given the area’s large Latino population, interpreters from the Mattie Rhodes Center were on hand to insure all residents knew of the opportunity.
Kansas City Homeowners may call the Fire Department’s Smoke Detector Hotline at 816-513-4648. The American Red Cross will provide and install free smoke detectors to both homeowners and renters. Interested residents can visit www.getasmokealarm.org to register.