MOUNT GILEAD — American Red Cross volunteer Dwight McFarland can tell you that if a fire starts in your home, you may have just two minutes to escape, and he will ask you if you have planned an escape route.
McFarland has been a Red Cross volunteer for several decades. He probably is best known for teaching the Red Cross First Aid and CPR classes for many years. His latest project is installing new smoke detectors in Morrow County and other counties in the North Central Red Cross Chapter.
“I got in eight smoke detectors by noon today,” said McFarland who works with Nancy Foos on the project. He has been installing the free smoke detectors for the past three years.
McFarland emphasized that there is no charge for either the smoke detectors or their installation. He has just started installing smoke alarms in Amish homes in Morrow County. He signed up 26 Amish families for the alarms at the safety event at Owl Creek Auction last month.
Todd James, executive director for the Red Cross North Central Chapter, said they have installed close to 3,000 alarms in the chapter that includes eight counties — Crawford, Hancock, Hardin, Marion, Morrow, Seneca, Wyandot and Union.
James said the smoke alarm program is a good volunteer project for someone who can give only a few hours of time in a month. It requires only one or two nights for a couple of hours and the training is easy.
Volunteers also spend some time in the home to talk about an escape route in case of fire and to give residents some safety information.
To request a home safety visit and receive a free smoke alarm, call 1-844-207-4509. To volunteer to help with smoke alarm installation or other Red Cross projects call the local American Red Cross, 37 W. Center St. Mount Gilead at 419-946-2811.
You can also sign up for smoke alarms online or volunteer at their website: redcross.org/ncohio.