Red Cross Mission Moment, Sound the Alarm

“No thank you,” said the woman at the door of the trailer, “my alarms have never gone off.”

“We could check them,” Anna countered.

“No, I have never had a fire, so no I don’t need my alarms checked,” she says as she firmly closed the door.

Not every call ends up with a success story, but when they do, they are a gift.

“Well, I do have fire alarms,” the eighty something woman said, “but I don’t think they work.”

Anna replies, “We can check them.”

After a quick round of introductions, I ask “Can you show me your smoke alarms?”

One is in the living area, but it doesn’t work when tested and there are smoke alarms in the bedrooms, but they are more than five years old.  They are placed right and use the same mount so I quickly mount the two alarms and test them.  After a quick install in the hallway the homeowner and I talk for a moment about her son.

“He doesn’t like sleeping in the little bedroom, it’s too hot,” she goes on to explain that he sleeps in another room across the hall, not usually a bedroom, but…

“Can I put one in there?” I ask her.  She quickly says it is ok.  A couple of minutes later as Anna finishes working through the escape plan for the trailer, I finish install and pack up.  Fifteen minutes and four alarms later, Mrs. Caida will be ready if fire ever does break out in her home.

Down the street we knock on another door.  Big family with several adult children in the four-bedroom modular home.  After our introduction, the young man says, “we check them and all of our fire alarms are working, but if you want to check them too we would like that.”

He was right, all of the installed smoke alarms worked and all were placed correctly and all are pretty new.  We chat for a couple more minutes and determine they do not have a carbon monoxide detector.

I walk around to the living room, “Como esta, senior?” [How are you sir?]

“Bien, bien,” dad said. [Good, good]

“Usted más sesenta cinco años?” [Are you more than 65?] I ask (my Spanish was not quite right, but he understood)

“Sí, tengo sesenta siete anos.” [Yes, I am 67]

“Gracias, disculpe, yo hablo tú hijo.” [Thank you, excuse me I will talk with your son] Because my Spanish won’t go to carbon monoxide detectors…

Thirty minutes, one nope, one full install, one complete check and two referrals for carbon monoxide detectors, plus I got to practice my Spanish on a real human, a great use for a half hour of my life.

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