Nearly 700 people in Macon-Bibb are leading safer lives as a result of Sound the Alarm, a partnership with the American Red Cross that installed free smoke alarms and taught fire safety this spring.

Home fires remain the leading cause of death in disasters, killing seven people a day. Macon-Bibb Director of Fire Prevention Brenda Thomas pointed out that the vast majority of those who have lost their lives in Macon-Bibb home fires recently didn’t have smoke alarms.

Joining Chief Thomas at a news conference on May 5, the final day of the drive, were Macon-Bibb Mayor Pro Tem Al Tillman, Director of Emergency Management Spencer Hawkins and Red Cross leaders.

“It is so important that we work together to prevent the tragedy of home fires,” Mayor Pro Tem Al Tillman said.  “I was surprised at the number of people who don’t have smoke alarms.  Please call to have one installed today.”

Last year Red Cross volunteers responded to 100 home fires in Macon-Bibb and provided emergency assistance to 367 residents.

“To help save lives, the Red Cross is asking every household in the Macon area to take two simple steps: practice home escape plans and check smoke alarms monthly,” said Connie Hensler, Red Cross Executive Director for Central and Midwest Georgia.

On May 5 and on a previous Saturday, two-person Red Cross teams fanned out in the Bellevue, Unionville, and Kings Park areas of Macon-Bibb.  One team member acted as the smoke-alarm installer, while another went over a fire safety checklist with the head of the household.  The team left behind a dry-erase board, marker and refrigerator magnet which the family could use to write and post its escape plan.  Most people don’t realize that they have just two minutes to escape a fire safely.

The Macon-Bibb Fire Department chose the neighborhoods for the campaign based on their likelihood of not having smoke alarms.

The Red Cross installed smoke alarms in hundreds of homes in Macon-Bibb where 661 people live.

Including Houston County, the campaign put in more than a thousand smoke alarms, helping almost 1,200 people live safer.

Nationally, Sound the Alarm was taking place in 100 cities and aimed to install 100,000 smoke alarms.

For more information, visit www.soundthealarm.org/Georgia.  Macon-Bibb residents can call the Fire Department at 478-751-9180 for a smoke alarm installation.