By KAYLA J. MARSH
EATONTOWN — Volunteers went door to door recently to educate local families about fire safety and to install free smoke alarms in homes that needed them.
Members of the Red Cross, Sen. Jennifer Beck’s (R-Monmouth) office, the Eatontown Fire Department, First Aid and Office of Emergency Management visited homes on July 16 in the Pine Tree Mobile Village and Woodlawn Village as part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign.
“We had a similar and successful program last year in our Country Club Apartment [complex],” said Councilman Richard J. Robinson. “The primary concern is the homeowner’s safety and the education about the whole smoke detector concept.
“In older detectors you usually change batteries once a year — many of these [detectors] had bad batteries or no batteries at all, and we stressed the importance of maintaining and keeping them clean and in good service.”
The Campaign, launched in October 2014, is aimed at helping reduce the number of home fire-related injuries and fatalities.
“Fire safety is very critical and sometimes there may be older residents who may not have gotten that fire safety training we got as children, so they are not aware about having an exit plan so that all members in the household know what to do, where to go and meet,” Robinson said.
“So aside from installing the smoke detectors, we helped them develop a plan, so if in case there ever was a fire, every member of the household knows where the exits are, where to meet.
“It is the kind of thing that can be taken for granted so it is important to educate people to have a plan.”
According to the Red Cross, volunteers reached 270 Eatontown homes with fire safety information and installed more than 70 free smoke alarms.
Since the launch of the Campaign, the Red Cross New Jersey Region and its community partners have installed more than 11,000 free smoke alarms and helped more than 5,000 New Jersey families create a family fire escape plan.
Robinson mentioned the Red Cross graciously donated smoke detectors with 10-year batteries.
“It not only gives us a chance to meet with residents we might not normally speak with, but gives them a good chance to ask questions about borough services they might not know about,” he said.
“All in all it was a very productive day, and we’re hoping to do it again in the near future.”