Smoke Alarms: Have you Checked Yours Lately? | United Way of St. Charles

Smoke Alarms: Have you Checked Yours Lately?

How often do we stop to think about the importance of a working smoke detector in our homes? Often it is when the battery is low and we hear an annoying beep or a tragic news story catches our attention.
Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes where the smoke alarm is working. [Source: National Fire Protection Association]
This past December, one St. Charles Parish family was forced to deal with the unimaginable: a fire in their home just two days before Christmas. Read their story below, and learn how Red Cross (a United Way Partner Agency) stepped up in their time of need.  
Interested in helping other St. Charles Parish residents prepare their homes for fire safety? Join us on Saturday, April 11th for our Day of Action.
Christmas is tough enough on anyone dealing with holiday stress, but on December 23, 2014 just as Marjorie Grimes and her family were settling into bed, a fire broke out in their mobile home, destroying everything and leaving herself, her husband, and her two sons without a place to live as the new year approached.  Upon receiving a call from Mr. Lee at the St. Charles EOC, our Disaster Action Team, including volunteers Joseph Hattala and Irvin Patecek were at the Grimes’ home within the hour, offering comfort and assistance.
Ms. Grimes said that the Red Cross turned out to be the highlight of her day, both gentlemen were beyond sweet and helpful, and she couldn’t have asked for two nicer people to come and help her deal with her emotions. Displaced from her home, she was surprised to learn that they were eager to provide her family with a hotel room and comfort kits. 

She was grateful for friends in the area that offered her family a place to stay, and therefore did not want to take advantage of the kindness Mr. Joe and Mr. Irvin offered by way of hotel accommodations. She reported, that if it was not for the Red Cross she would not have had any clothes to wear, and Ms. Marjorie still revels in that provision. 
Soon after the fire, Marjorie and her family found a new place to live.  She was offered Red Cross rental assistance, but declined saying that she was already fortunate to receive immediate help from the Red Cross. Further, she wanted to pass the support on to someone in the future who may need it more than she.  

Marjorie thanked the Red Cross for the “excellent” experience that they provided to her family in their time of need. She will never forget how two, kind volunteers helped to improve what could have been one of the worst experiences of her family’s life.