The American Red Cross and members of a University of Findlay club will be visiting 800 homes in northwest Findlay on Feb. 23 to install free smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing smoke alarms, and help families create escape plans.

The effort, called “Sound the Alarm,” will be conducted by the North Central Ohio Chapter of the Red Cross and the University of Findlay’s American Society of Safety Professionals Club.

It’s part of a nationwide Red Cross effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires.

Findlay’s event will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Volunteers will be canvassing neighborhoods in the northwest area of Findlay near the university.

A similar effort last year also targeted an area of northwest Findlay, between Trenton and Melrose avenues.

Red Cross Executive Director Todd James said volunteers are needed to help this year.

“We’ll provide training the morning of the event for the volunteers who will serve as installers, safety educators and documenters,” he said.

James said businesses, organizations, and individuals who want to volunteer can call the Hancock County Red Cross office at 419-422-9322 or email northcentralohio@redcross.org.

“Home fires are the biggest disaster threat our community faces,” James said.

The North Central Ohio Chapter, which covers Hancock, Hardin, Seneca, Wyandot, Crawford, Marion, Morrow and Union counties, “responded to 150 fires last year and lost over a dozen lives to home fires,” James said.

“Please help us ‘Sound the Alarm’ by volunteering to install smoke alarms in your community, making a financial contribution, or taking steps to protect your own family from home fires,” he said.

Nationally, the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters a year, the majority of which are home fires. Working smoke alarms in a home cut the risk of death by half, the Red Cross says, and having an escape plan further improves the odds of survival.

The Red Cross smoke alarm campaign began in 2014. To date, the North Central Ohio Chapter of the Red Cross has installed more than 3,000 smoke alarms.

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