Fire officials, Red Cross install free smoke detectors - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Fire officials, Red Cross install free smoke detectors

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - We have seen dozens of fires in our area over the last few weeks. They have left families homeless, and in some cases, even taken lives.

Saturday, in an effort to help, fire officials and local volunteers went door to door, installing smoke alarms, in areas they've deemed "high risk."

The Chattanooga Fire Department and several dozen Red Cross volunteers visited around 170 homes Saturday. They say it's surprising to see how many people don't have smoke alarms, so they're working to change that one house at a time.

In the last couple months, we've reported on fire after fire, some deadly and all destructive, where smoke alarms, or the lack thereof, played a key role in the outcome.

Local crews are taking a step to provide that warning for nearly 200 local families. The Chattanooga Fire Department and the Red Cross joined forces to identify neighborhoods most prone to fires, and least likely to have working smoke detectors.

"We're going to hopefully eliminate that many more fires that could impact that many more members of our community," Southeast Tennessee American Red Cross Chapter Executive Greg Waite said.

They canvassed neighborhoods surrounding Tunnel Boulevard: testing, changing batteries, or installing new smoke detectors where needed.

"Some people will have them in there, they're not functioning right, they're not in the right place, they may have had them too long," Chattanooga Fire Department Fire Marshal James Whitmire said.

"I ran out and told them I needed one," homeowner Oline McCain said.

McMain had no idea until now that the smoke detector in his home of 33 years wasn't working.

"It's a divine blessing that let me know this one that I did put in the batteries, beeped that one time, but it was malfunctioning at this time," McCain said.

He says he's thankful they fixed him up with a new, working one and that they're checking on his neighbors, too.

"I think it'll save a lot of lives. I really do," McCain said.

At midnight, we're supposed to turn our clocks forward an hour for Daylight Saving Time. That's when fire officials always remind people to replace the batteries in your smoke detector. They say changing the batteries every time you change your clock is an easy way to remember.

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