Red Cross Distributing Free Smoke Detectors on Long Island

Want a free smoke detector? The American Red Cross is delivering them to homeowners across New York as part of its ongoing Home Fire Campaign.

Crews from the Red Cross, National Grid and the Freeport Fire Department visited homes in that Long Island village Friday to install the detectors.

So far, the Red Cross has distributed more than 6,000 detectors across the state as part of the program. It's a vital step in a state where crews respond to as many as 70,000 blazes a year.

"We have a goal to reduce fire deaths by 25 percent," said Red Cross spokesman John Miller.

Andrea Gatewood had seven placed in her home after reading about the program on Freeport's Facebook page. She shares her home with two adult children and two grandchildren, and said that it was one of the smartest things she's done.

"I had one in my kitchen but it kept going off and we took out the battery," Gatewood said. "I learned a lot today."

Lessons about fire safety are a big part of the program; with the free smoke detector comes a fire safety checklist and a conversation about setting up a fire escape plan.

"This really gets people thinking before they have a fire," said Freeport fire chief Tom Butler.

The lessons took hold for homeowner Fredie Redd, who had six detectors installed.

"I learned that detectors should be in every bedroom," said Redd.

For information on obtaining a free smoke detector, go to

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