ST. LOUIS – As people turned their clocks forward this weekend, the St. Louis Fire Department was helping people in the city check their smoke alarms and install new ones.

“I went by the department this morning and inquired about the smoke detectors because I saw it on the news this morning,” said James Dotson Jr, who lives in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood.

The STLFD has installed hundreds of smoke alarms over the weekend. It’s all part of the Sound the Alarm campaign. Firefighters also went door-to-door, making sure people have an escape plan in case they ever have a fire at their home. They also looked out for any hazards in the home.

“{Saturday} we installed 460 smoke alarms throughout the city and we’re looking to do that number today or better,” Capt. Leon Whitener said. “Traditionally, we average about 900 to 1,000 smoke alarms on time-change weekends. That’s both in the spring and in the fall, so a combination of about 2,000 smoke alarms throughout the year on these time change weekends.”

Dotson felt grateful knowing his older smoke alarms have been replaced.

“It means a lot,” he said. “I grew up in this home, so it means a lot. It’s a family home, so it means a great deal to me.”

Firefighters made stops in neighborhoods throughout the city.

“There’s not an area that we want to miss, and unfortunately we are still responding to fires where there are either no smoke alarms in the home or they have faulty smoke alarms,” Whitener said.

Gladys Meyer came out to volunteer.

“I had a house fire myself back in 2018, and so I know how important smoke detectors are,” she said. “I did pretty much lose pretty much everything.”

The smoke alarms were provided by the American Red Cross.

“The ultimate goal is to save a life, to make homes safer, to make sure that if and when a home fire does occur, that people are able to get out safely,” said Beth Elders, executive director of American Red Cross of Greater St. Louis.

Capt. Whitener said the smoke alarms they provided should last people 10 years, but he urges everyone to check their smoke alarms once a month.

“We don’t hand out smoke alarms,” he said. “We put them in because well-placed, working smoke alarms to save lives. That’s a proven fact.”

If you live in St. Louis City and didn’t get a smoke alarm, you can still get one installed for free by calling 314-433-3406.

“You can also get a smoke alarm anytime throughout the course of the year through the American Red Cross,” Elders said.

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