Fire safety added to Day of Caring

Some Seymour residents will receive a visit today from a group of volunteers promoting home fire safety.

For the first time, the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign will be offered to Jackson County residents as part of the 19th annual Jackson County United Way Day of Caring. The event features volunteers completing projects such as landscaping, cleaning and painting throughout the day across the county.

As part of the home fire campaign, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., volunteers from Cummins Inc. and the American Red Cross will split up into teams and travel door-to-door to talk with residents about fire safety, distribute information about fire safety, install smoke alarms and replace fire alarm batteries as needed.

Amanda Blackburn, disaster program manager for District 8 of the American Red Cross, said she’s been working with Seymour Fire Chief Brad Lucas, who helped her come up with a list of places to visit in the city including residences in the area of Broadway, Laurel, Park, Vine, East and O’Brien streets.

Blackburn said about 21 volunteers will split into teams with the hope of visiting 300 homes.

The campaign has been conducted in other areas of the state, including Evansville and Indianapolis. The national goal is a 25 percent reduction in home fire deaths and injuries in the next five years.

So far, five lives have been saved in Indiana since the program was implemented in October 2014, according to a news release.

“We’re hoping to get homes that don’t have smoke alarms and get those installed, which will cut down on injuries and deaths if there was a fire,” Blackburn said.

She said they also will replace old smoke detectors, which can expire after about 10 years.

If a smoke detector doesn’t have batteries or has old ones, volunteers will have some on hand to give out. They also will ask if the residents have a fire escape plan in an emergency situation.

“If they don’t have one, we will make one using a dry-erase board they can hang on their fridge,” she said.

A home safety fire checklist with preparedness information will be handed out.

Blackburn said if someone isn’t home, team members will leave a note to reschedule a time. If a residence is in need of fire safety supplies, she said to call Seymour’s district of the American Red Cross at 812-522-3888.

At a glance

For information on the Home Fire Campaign, call 812-522-3888.