Mayor Chris Beutler today urged the community to support this year's second smoke alarm rally from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, October 2 at Lincoln High School. Residents who live in the neighborhood south of the State Capitol are asked to welcome volunteers who will install free smoke alarms. Volunteers also are needed to canvass the neighborhood, knock on doors and offer to install free alarms, each equipped with a 10-year battery.
Based on the success of last year's inaugural smoke alarm rally, Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR) obtained a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to expand this year's effort. On August 21, 90 volunteers installed 300 smoke alarms. The goal for the October 2 event is 300 volunteers and over 1,000 alarms installed. The effort will again target the blocks bounded by Washington, "F", 14th and 17th streets.
Volunteers will work with trained personnel from Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR), the American Red Cross, Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) and other health and safety organizations. Safe Kids of Lincoln-Lancaster County has teamed with LFR to organize the rally, modeled after a successful program in Phoenix, Arizona.
Officials say fire is the second leading cause of accidental death to children in Nebraska, and more than 80 percent of fire deaths occur in homes with no alarm or a non-functioning alarm. "This is about saving lives," said LFR Captain Jeff Hatcher. "People living in the targeted neighborhoods are at a greater risk of being injured or killed by fire. We are here to offer them a higher level of protection because of that risk."
Jon Carlson of the Stronger Safer Neighborhoods Initiative, said the City has been investing resources in these same neighborhoods for the past year as part of a larger effort to revitalize neighborhoods and increase safety.
Volunteers age 18 and older are still needed to help install the smoke alarms. Those who are 16 and 17 years old can participate if accompanied by a parent or guardian. No experience is necessary.
Organizers are especially in need of Spanish-speaking volunteers. Those wishing to help can contact Julie Anderson at 441-8071 or show up at Lincoln High School (main entrance, north doors) at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Other community groups and sponsors involved in the rally include Allied Insurance Company; the Center for People in Need; Continental Western; Lincoln Firefighters Association, I.A.F.F. Local 644; the Real Estate Owners and Managers Association; Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center Burn Unit; Southeast Community College Fire Protection and Technology Department; Union Bank & Trust; Lincoln Police Department; American Red Cross; Salvation Army; and United Rentals.
Additional information is available on the City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: smoke alarms).