Some residents of Montgomery and Carroll counties will a smoke detector installed in their homes for free thanks to a collaboration between the American Red Cross and Blessings for All Empowered by Faith.
On June 23, volunteers and members of various non-profit organizations will be going door-to-door on the west side of Winona offering smoke detector installment and fire safety tips. In September, the group plans to cover the east side of Winona and the Town of Vaiden.
Calbrina Woods, director of Blessings for All Empowered by Faith, said she sought out the American Red Cross after a fatal fire happened in Winona in late March. What began as a kitchen fire, resulted in two deaths and a total loss of the house. It was later publicized that the home did not have smoke detectors, Woods said.
Woods said she wanted to find a government program so that there would be no cost to herself or to the citizens she was trying to serve. After speaking with a representative at the Red Cross, she was told that such a program did exist, but that the Red Cross would have to partner with a local organization since they did not do deliveries and installment.
Blessings for All Empowered by Faith has nine members. The organization was more than happy to take on the responsibility of installing the smoke detectors, but the group also wanted to be able to help the maximum number of residents. Woods said she began asking other organizations if they would be willing to join the partnership and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Blessings for All Empowered by Faith is now joined by Duck Hill New Millennium Men’s and Women’s Club, the Masonic Evergreen Lodge #205 Vaiden, Masonic Spring Hill Lodge #388 Duck Hill, the Winona Fire Department and Winona’s Lions Club.
After she contacted the American Red Cross, Woods said she received a response within a week. A week after she was given instructions on what to do, she received her first shipment of smoke detectors.
Woods said she is extremely happy with the progress that has been made. More than 20 volunteers have pledged to help with the installments on Saturday. Each house will get at least two smoke detectors. Some houses may be given three smoke detectors, depending on the house’s size and structure.
Three volunteers will be deployed to each house—two men to install the smoke detectors and one woman to assist with completion of paperwork. Woods said the entire visit should last roughly 10 minutes and no SSN or other personal or governmental information is required.
Woods said she can’t guarantee that their efforts will save a life, but at the least, the installments “could cut down on property damages so it doesn’t have to be a total loss.”
Participating organizations have been trained by the Winona Fire Department on effective fire safety. Woods said they plan to “provide not only smoke detectors but educate people on prevention, awareness and escape from homes in under 2 minutes.”
Woods said her ultimate goal is to install 400 smoke detectors by the end of the year. Although the group has a planned schedule, Woods said anyone in Montgomery or Carroll County can contact her and request a smoke detector installation at any time.
For more information, contact Woods at 662-753-1659.