Red Cross hosts smoke alarm installation sweep

COLUMBIA, Pa. --  Volunteers with The American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Chapter are working to improve fire safety in Lancaster County. The agency organized a smoke alarm training session Friday for people living in Columbia.

Residents were given lessons in how to properly install smoke alarms. Groups of volunteers then helped install alarms in homes throughout the borough. Along the way, residents and volunteers noticed many of the existing alarms were outdated.

"It makes me feel safer a lot safer," said Millie Emerick, who received a new smoke alarm.

Volunteers also took the time to review fire escape plans with people living in the borough.

"People don't realize that they only have about two minutes to safely escape a home fire, which when you think about it, really isn't a lot of time," said Kim Maiolo, director of communications and marketing for the Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Chapter.

Maiolo says installing new smoke alarms in a home doubles a family's chances of surviving a fire.