So Middletown was selected as one of more than 50 at-risk communities participating in the nationwide Red Cross “Sound the Alarm” initiative. Middletown will host a “Day of Action” on May 8 when Middletown firefighters fulfill the installation appointments and Red Cross volunteers share fire safety information with residents and help create an escape plan to practice their two-minute fire drill.
“It is extremely important that every household has a smoke detector,” Middletown Division of Fire Chief Paul Lolli said.
He said the highest number of fatal fires occur overnight, and a majority are within homes without a smoke detector.
To prepare for the May 8 event, Middletown will host a “Sound the Alarm Awareness Day” Saturday in hopes of registering residents for the free smoke detectors.
Food provided by Gracie’s will be served at noon Saturday in the Swallen’s lot downtown. Then a fire truck procession around Middletown neighborhoods will be held from 1-2 p.m. A community awareness event and more food will be served from 2-3 p.m. at the Robert “Sonny” Hill Community Center, 800 Lafayette Ave.
Stephen Hightower, a Middletown resident, is spearheading the events at the community center. He said it’s “disheartening” to hear the community has an abnormal rate of deaths and injuries from fires since something “so simple” like installing a smoke alarm is often overlooked.
Since launching the campaign in 2014, the Red Cross has helped save nearly 850 lives across the country by helping families create escape plans and installing free smoke alarms, according to the Red Cross.
To schedule an installation appointment, Middletown residents should call 844-207-4509.
Tri-state residents living outside of Middletown are encouraged to call 844-207-4509 to request a virtual education appointment and referral to a partner agency for installation of free smoke alarms.