Mayor Chris Beutler today urged the community to support the second annual Lincoln Smoke Alarm Rally from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, August 21. Residents who live in the neighborhood surrounding McPhee Elementary School, 15th and "G" streets, are asked to welcome volunteers who will install free smoke alarms. Volunteers also are needed to canvass the neighborhood, knock on doors and offer to install free alarms.
The volunteers will work with trained personnel from Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR), the American Red Cross, Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) and other health and safety organizations. Organizers hope to install over 1,000 dual-detection smoke alarms, each equipped with a 10-year battery. They will be target two areas:
Officials say fire is the second leading cause of accidental death to children in Nebraska, and more than 80 percent of fire deaths occur in homes with no alarm or a non-functioning alarm.
"The bottom line is that smoke alarms save lives," said Mayor Beutler. "If we reach our goal at Saturday's rally, we will have provided hundreds of families in Lincoln with this live-saving tool. This is the Stronger Safer Neighborhoods Initiative at work – creating community partnerships to keep Lincoln a safe place to live, work and raise a family."
Based on the success of last year's inaugural smoke alarm rally, LFR secured a FEMA grant to expand this year's effort. "With the additional grant money and our community volunteers, we hope to install many more alarms and also provide additional special equipment to families with a deaf or hard of hearing family member," said Fire Chief Niles Ford.
Jon Carlson of the Stronger Safer Neighborhoods Initiative, said the City has been investing resources in the neighborhoods surrounding McPhee school for the past year as part of a larger effort to revitalize neighborhoods and increase safety.
Safe Kids of Lincoln-Lancaster County has teamed with LFR to organize the rally, modeled after a successful program in Phoenix, Arizona.
"Safe Kids is a program that focuses on a wide-range of injury prevention programs for children," said Bruce Dart, Director, LLCHD "To do that, we bring together State and local agencies, medical providers, service groups, businesses, schools and others in the community. We believe events like the Smoke Alarm Rally provide a great opportunity to educate residents, provide prevention resources and increase the health of the community."
Volunteers age 18 and older are still needed to help install the smoke alarms. Those who are 16 and 17 years old can participate if accompanied by a parent or guardian. No experience is necessary. Organizers are especially in need of Spanish-speaking volunteers. Those wishing to help can contact Julie Anderson at 441-8071 or show up at McPhee at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Other community groups and sponsors involved in the rally include Allied Insurance Company; the Center for People in Need; Continental Western; Lincoln Firefighters Association, I.A.F.F. Local 644; the Real Estate Owners and Managers Association; Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center Burn Unit; Southeast Community College Fire Protection and Technology Department; Union Bank & Trust; Lincoln Police Department; and United Rentals.
Additional information is available on the City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: smoke alarm).