American Red Cross installs smoke detectors, holds fundraiser

LIHUE — The American Red Cross is providing free smoke detectors to residents and raising funds to help disaster victims.

In Hawaii, 1,575 alarms have been installed in 459 homes since the start of the “Home Fire Campaign” in 2014.

“When the fire trucks respond to a fire, the Red Cross is there shortly after to help the victims,” said Larry LaSota, Kauai Red Cross volunteer. “That’s why this program is important to us.”

Kauai Red Cross volunteers recently installed 72 smoke detectors in Lihue and Kapaa as part of an effort to educate residents about fire safety and lifesaving skills. The organization’s goal is to reduce fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent during the five-year campaign.

Another round of installations is scheduled in mid-September for the next campaign, Sound the Alarm/Save a Life. A crew of four to six trained volunteers takes about 10 minutes to install alarms in each house. After completing a questionnaire, residents are given a magnetic board to draw an escape route.

“It’s comprehensive,” LaSota said.

Red Cross has been helping shelter, feed and counsel disaster victims and teaching lifesaving skills for 100 years. The nonprofit depends on volunteers and public contributions.

Kauai Red Cross is selling a special 25th anniversary Hurricane Iniki commemorative T-shirt to raise money.

The limited-edition reprint of the original 1992 Red Cross Iniki Disaster Relief T-shirt is $25.

“Part of what authenticates the shirt is the disaster relief number from the Red Cross that was assigned during Hurricane Iniki,” LaSota said. “You can follow the path of the hurricane across the shirt as it moves up and captures Kauai.”

Padraic Gallagher, director of disaster services for Kauai, said the money stays here.

“We’re going to turn around and use that money to buy things that we need here in the Kauai office, like first aid kits, coolers and other things we may need for disaster relief,” he said.

Shirts are available at the Red Cross office in Lihue and will also be for sale at the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair later this month on the grounds of Vidinha Stadium.

Red Cross prepares shelters and transportation in case of natural disasters. Because it’s hurricane season, it’s important for residents to be prepared with extra water, non-perishable food and other supplies, said Gallagher.

“We’re always here, always ready, for whatever happens,” Gallagher said.

Kauai residents can sign up for smoke detectors by contacting the district office, 645-1911.

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