Red Cross gives out free smoke alarms in Steamboat mobile home parks |

Red Cross gives out free smoke alarms in Steamboat mobile home parks

— The Routt County wing of the American Red Cross was already planning to reach out over the weekend to mobile home residents here with offers of free smoke alarms when the destructive fire in the Paul and Carzel Fourtner home on Apres Ski Way broke out May 14.

There were no serious injuries resulting from the fire, but two households were displaced and property was lost. If a fire had to happen, it made it even more meaningful for the local Red Cross to take steps to ensure more homes were equipped with fire-warning devices.

Red Cross volunteers went door to door in the Fish Creek and Sleepy Bear mobile home parks Saturday, visiting 25 homes where they installed 38 new smoke alarms and changed nine batteries in existing alarms at no charge.

Eric Myers with the American Red Cross in Grand Junction reported that the Steamboat event, which took place during a weekend-long training, was the biggest in Western Colorado since the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign began in October 2014.

Local Red Cross volunteer Linda Kakela said volunteers have engaged with the Fourtners and their tenant Chris O’Konski to help meet their needs. In the meantime, it’s essential for local residents to look to their own fire safety, she said. She anticipates the success of the local smoke alarm event led to more outreach in the area.

“It’s important for everyone to make sure their household is ready,” she said in a news release. “A disaster like a home fire can happen anywhere, at any time. We urge people to know what they would do if an emergency occurs.”

• Check smoke alarm batteries. Take a few minutes to replace the smoke alarm batteries and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working. It’s also a great time to check carbon monoxide detectors.

• Install smoke alarms. If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check local building codes for additional requirements.

• Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.

For more information on the American Red Cross and how you can get involved, contact Kristen Gietzen at 970-242-6646 or at

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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