More than 800 free smoke alarms will be installed across Alaska during the next month, amid a Red Cross initiative meant to distribute 100,000 of the life-saving devices nationwide.

A wave of events in Southcentral and Southeast Alaska were announced Friday by the Red Cross of Alaska. The program is part of Sound the Alarm, a spring campaign to install alarms and gather donations for fire safety.

“Red Cross volunteers and local partners will canvass neighborhoods, install free 10-year lithium battery smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms and help families create fire escape plans,” Red Cross officials wrote.

According to a Red Cross fire safety survey, more than 70 percent of respondents said they had left the kitchen while cooking on the stove, with nearly 60 percent leaving a grill while using it to cook. Almost 40 percent said they were more likely to win the lottery than lose their home to a fire.

“What’s more, while most people surveyed (98 percent) said they believe smoke alarms can save lives, nearly half said they’ve disconnected an alarm or taken the batteries out when it went off,” Red Cross officials wrote.

A September report from the state Department of Public Safety listed 19 people dead in Alaska fires during 2017, including five young girls who lost their lives in a Butte trailer fire. According to the Red Cross, the absence of warnings from smoke alarms was a major factor in that year’s statewide death toll.

“Of the residential fires that killed 18 civilians in 2017, only three of the 12 affected homes had working smoke alarms, according to the report,” Red Cross officials wrote.

Sound the Alarm events are being held in the following Southcentral and Southeast Alaska communities. Residents can call the listed phone numbers to request the installation of smoke alarms.

Southcentral Alaska

Talkeetna: May 4
Talkeetna Fire Department, 907-733-2443 or 907-315-7944

Kodiak: May 11
Call 206-698-9706, or the Kodiak Fire Department at 907-486-8040

Houston: May 18
Houston Fire Department, 907-892-9130

Homer: April 27-30
Call 907-646-5408

Southeast Alaska

Craig and Klawock: May 5
Naukati Bay, Whale Pass and Coffman Cove: May 6
Thorne Bay and Kasaan: May 7
Hollis and Hydaburg: May 8
Ketchikan: May 9

For all Southeast Alaska communities, call or send a text message to 907-209-1329

Alaskans can also fill out an online application to request the installation of smoke alarms in their homes. The Red Cross website is also taking donations to support the program, with $15 funding the cost of an alarm plus installation and training on how to use it.

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