American Red Cross Stresses Working Smoke Alarms

Home Of Woman Killed In Sunday Fire Did Not Have Alarm Present

Last Sunday, Karanne Kaye Miller, 64, was killed in her home in Sioux Falls during a fire.

It was the first fire-related death in Sioux Falls since 2013.

When crews arrived, they only saw small flames.

The home itself, however, was filled with smoke.

Fire crews say there was no smoke alarm in the home.

Eastern South Dakota Red Cross Executive Director Jennifer Ross said they are mourning the loss in the community.

“For us, that ignites our passion to get out there and remind people to have smoke alarms,” said Ross.

The American Red Cross holds canvasses in the fall, equipping homes with working alarms in at-risk communities in Sioux Falls.

Ross said, however, that just by seeing an alarm in a home doesn’t calm their nerves.

“One of the things that scare me the most is households that have smoke alarms that aren’t working so they feel like they’re protected and they’re not. Getting people to test smoke alarms is one of our pushes. We want to make sure those are working,” said Ross.

In the case of an emergency, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Inspector Curtis Johnson said an alarm can be a home’s first line of defense.

“It’ll go off at the beginning of the smoke. If you take as simple as the birthday candles on a cake and blow them out, that can set your smoke alarm off. That’s very little smoke. That’s the beginning of the fire stages,” said Johnson.

When it comes to smoke alarms, the American Red Cross recommends the following:

If an alarm is ten years or older, they say it should be replaced immediately.

Batteries in an alarm should be replaced every six months.

Every month, homeowners should test their alarms.

A test can be done as easy as pushing the “test” button on the front of the alarm.

If the test comes up with no noise, it needs a battery change.

If the batteries are changed and there is still no noise, the alarm needs to be replaced.

Ross said a life-saving replacement can even be installed for free.

“Come to the Red Cross, we’re happy to install them. Go to your fire department, they can help install them as well. We just want to make sure every household has a smoke alarm,” said Ross.

The American Red Cross offers smoke alarm replacements across the state.

For more information, visit getasmokealarm.org

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue offers free replacements for anyone within the city limits.

They ask anyone interested to call their office at 367-9083.

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