Red Cross prepares for West Side smoke detector distribution; volunteers wanted

By Roger DuPuis - [email protected]
American Red Cross logistics coordinator Tracy Persing, right, is seen demonstrating a smoke detector for the hearing impaired to volunteers Jim Jackiewicz, of Wilkes-Barre, and Maureen Walsh and Dave Svadeba, both of Old Forge, in Wilkes-Barre in January as they prepared trucks for smoke alarm distribution on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The agency will host a similar event Saturday around Kingston and Forty Fort. - Times Leader file

KINGSTON — The American Red Cross will be hitting some West Side streets on Saturday to distribute smoke alarms and, hopefully, help save some lives down the road.

“Sound the Alarm. Save a Life,” is a national Red Cross initiative to put the lifesaving devices in homes across the country. More than a million smoke alarms have been installed nationwide since 2014, agency officials have said.

In our region, the agency and its volunteers have installed more than 10,000 smoke alarms over the past two years, said Bill Goldsworthy, executive director of the American Red Cross Northeast PA Chapter, which is based in Wilkes-Barre.

On Saturday, volunteers will gather at the Kingston Fire Department, 600 Wyoming Ave., at 9 a.m. for instructions before heading out into neighborhoods in Kingston and Forty Fort.

“We have about 100 volunteers signed up so far,” Goldsworthy said. “We’re hoping to get a few more.”

He has another benchmark in mind, too.

Close to 80 volunteers distributed more than 500 smoke alarms during a recent effort in Hazleton and West Hazleton, and “my goal is to get up to 750” on Saturday, Goldsworthy said.

Anyone interested in volunteering can show up at the firehouse Saturday morning, or call Goldsworthy at 570-846-3308.

The Times Leader is among area businesses and organizations which is providing volunteers for the event.

Here are a few things to know before you go:

• Volunteers will be trained in installing the smoke alarms for homeowners before they head out into the community.

• Residents may have some awareness that the event is happening, as the Red Cross promotes it on social media and through signs in the neighborhoods.

• The Red Cross works with local fire departments to choose target areas. They take into account how densely populated the area is, how close houses are to each other, and other factors determining potential loss of life in the event of a fire.

• Volunteers will not be sent out alone, but in teams of three or four people.

• Younger teens are welcome to participate if accompanied by an adult.

American Red Cross logistics coordinator Tracy Persing, right, is seen demonstrating a smoke detector for the hearing impaired to volunteers Jim Jackiewicz, of Wilkes-Barre, and Maureen Walsh and Dave Svadeba, both of Old Forge, in Wilkes-Barre in January as they prepared trucks for smoke alarm distribution on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The agency will host a similar event Saturday around Kingston and Forty Fort.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL011518MLKFireAlarm_1CMYK-4.jpgAmerican Red Cross logistics coordinator Tracy Persing, right, is seen demonstrating a smoke detector for the hearing impaired to volunteers Jim Jackiewicz, of Wilkes-Barre, and Maureen Walsh and Dave Svadeba, both of Old Forge, in Wilkes-Barre in January as they prepared trucks for smoke alarm distribution on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The agency will host a similar event Saturday around Kingston and Forty Fort. Times Leader file

By Roger DuPuis

[email protected]