CAR’s Board of Trustees Chair Julie Harron and Treasurer Rachel Scheid led the effort. Joined by a small contingent (approximately half a dozen), the REALTORS® met at the Red Cross headquarters on the Near Westside and, after receiving a safety and installation briefing, the REALTORS® hit the streets. The Red Cross pre-selected the homes that would receive the smoke detectors and the recipients were notified the day before. In Homan Square and West Humboldt Park, REALTORS® installed smoke detectors in residential homes that needed them.
The home visits did more than supply smoke detectors where needed; it was also an opportunity to discuss fire safety. During the visit, homeowners were given instructions on proper escape routes, the benefits of sleeping with doors closed and making sure keys are readily available if an exit door locks from the inside.
The Red Cross distributes smoke detectors with a 10-year lithium battery – which is standard throughout much of the country. Replaceable batteries were often tampered with or neglected to be serviced when needed. Also, remember, it is the responsibility of property managers to install smoke detectors. The Red Cross told the volunteers if you know someone or encounter someone in the City of Chicago who needs a smoke detector, call 311 (or sign up online) to be listed for a future installation.