Avera Medical Minute ASH: Avera teams up with American Red Cross to install smoke alarms in Yankton

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In South Dakota, 80% of the American Red Cross responses are to home fires. Having a working smoke alarm can mean the difference between life and death.

“We’re always looking for ways to reach into communities to open their doors for the free smoke alarms,” said Jennifer Ross, executive director of American Red Cross for Eastern South Dakota.

Having a working smoke alarm in your home can cut the chance of injury or death in half.

“In the last year we’ve had two deaths in Yankton,” said Catherine Crandall, an Avera Sacred Heart employee.

That’s why Crandall and her husband Terry organized a canvassing event in their community of Yankton to make sure residents had working smoke alarms in their homes. This is part of the American Red Cross’s Home Fire Campaign which Avera is a sponsor of.

“I organized a bunch of volunteers, talked to the fire department and the police department, and said would you like to partner with Red Cross to make this happen in Yankton and they were happy to do that,” said Crandall.

“This ensures going in the door, not only ensures getting the detector installed, it’s getting the detectors checked in the home, making sure the batteries are up and there’s also the 10-year lifespan on the detectors that isn’t being looked at that needs to be because that’s about the life of a smoke detector. And if they’re not getting checked, they’re not going to work,” said Deputy Fire Chief Larry Nickels of the Yankton Fire Department.

“The first night when we would expect to have 50 or 60 appointments, she had secured 115 appointments for us to go to. Over half of those homes we went to had no working smoke alarms which means that family was completely unprotected should they have a home fire,” said Ross.

Avera and the American Red Cross coming together on a project like this only makes sense.

“Both of us are looking at our communities and figuring out how to keep them healthy and how to make them safe. And so we love having Avera as a partner,” said Ross.

In total, more than 800 smoke detectors have been installed through the Home Fire Campaign.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.