DES MOINES, Iowa — The Red Cross of Central Iowa spent Saturday installing smoke alarms in the Meadows mobile home park in Des Moines.
Red Cross officials say this effort was a direct response to a fire at the mobile park back in May. No one was hurt, but the home that caught fire was completely destroyed. Officials are still trying to figure out what caused the fire.
The same day Red Cross volunteers responded to that fire, crews were asked by the Meadows property management to assist the community in installing smoke alarms to ensure residents’ safety. One resident found that one of her detectors needed a new battery.
“That just blew my mind because it’s like, oh my god, my house could go up and I’d never know,” said resident Sheila Mohr.
Even though the mobile homes are smaller, Red Cross officials say the material they are made of is more flammable and there is a better chance of a deadly outcome if residents are caught inside during a fire.
“Every sleeping quarter should have a smoke detector. Or if they are close by to each other they could have one just right outside,” said Red Cross Disaster Program manager Keith Kuperman. “But we’re trying to really install one in each sleeping quarter and to have one in the living area, as well, to make sure that they could get out quickly. Unfortunately, it’s not like a regular structure, which has particular building codes, which enables them to have more time to escape during a fire. When you’re dealing with the mobile home community, they go up a lot quicker. So we do need to make sure that they do have adequate coverage throughout their area.”
The Red Cross had a goal of getting to every home in the neighborhood and installing over 1,000 new smoke alarms.