ILION – Every year in the United States, more than 3,000 people die in fires. According to the US Fire Administration, one third of those deaths took place in homes that did not have smoke detectors.
This is a statistic the American Red Cross and local fire fighters are aiming to change.
As part of a nation-wide effort to reduce fire deaths by 25 percent, the American Red Cross is handing out free smoke detectors. And locally, the Ilion Fire Department has partnered with the American Red Cross in an effort to make sure every home in the village of Ilion has at least two working smoke detectors.
“We’ll be distributing and installing smoke detectors in homes beginning next month,” said Ilion Fire Chief James Trevett. “Our plan is to go to every home in the village.”
The American Red Cross program began in April, said Red Cross representative Tom Dalton. Since it’s start, 149 detectors have already been installed in homes throughout Herkimer and Oneida counties.
The Ilion Fire Department decided to partner with the Red Cross after Deputy Chief Daniel Trevor attended a weekend training program at the State Fire Academy and learned of the Red Cross’ recent efforts.
“It’s been all Danny Trevor,” Trevett said. “He’s been spearheading the effort. He contacted the local Red Cross and brought it to the village and got the mayor and board’s blessing.”
“We’re very excited about it,” said Ilion Mayor Terry Leonard. “The Red Cross is doing a wonderful thing and as mayor I think it will be wonderful for the village and our residents.”
According to Dalton, the program will kick off in Ilion June 13. On that day, firefighters and Red Cross personnel will begin going door to door, starting in North Ilion on Pine Street, he said.
If a home lacks them, smoke detectors will be installed. If a home has detectors that are 10-years-old or older, they will be removed and new ones put in, Trevett explained. Every home in need will receive up to four smoke detectors.
“It’s voluntary, of course,” he added. “If a home owner wants the detectors, great. If not, that’s OK too.”
Firefighters will also be handing out information pamphlets on fire safety, flood safety and the like, Trevett said.
“Residents don’t have to wait for the kick-off,” Dalton noted. “If someone is in need of a detector today, they can call the Red Cross and we’ll come out and put one in.”
That number to call is 315-733-4666.
A similar teaming up between fire departments and the American Red Cross is going on in Utica and will later take place in Sydney as well, Dalton said.