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Today I had the honor and privilege of participating in a Smoke Alarm Blitz with the Rowlett CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). This was the third time I’ve gone out with the team and as always it was a heartwarming event.

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Each year Rowlett CERT gets brand new smoke alarms and batteries and goes out to one or more of the mobile home neighborhoods or low-income neighborhoods in Rowlett. Directed by Whitney Laning, President of the Rowlett Citizen Corps Council, and Bryan Beckner, Rowlett Fire Marshall, they split into smaller teams, usually joined by 1 or 2 crews from Rowlett Fire Rescue and visit each home in the neighborhood.

What we’ve found is that most of these residents, unfortunately, don’t have working smoke alarms or don’t have smoke alarms at all!! In fact, in some of the neighborhoods, more than 50% of the homes didn’t have working smoke alarms!

It is amazing to see their faces when we explain that we have FREE smoke alarms (or batteries if they do have them)! Most light up with excitement and appreciation – and I’ve never seen a resident get angry! The other great thing about this is that the Rowlett Explorers join us and get to learn first-hand about helping others!!

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This year we were able to visit 3 different neighborhoods in Rowlett. As always, the residents were happy to see us and amazed that we would take the time to bring them free smoke alarms. It’s such a small thing in our minds but to these people who don’t have smoke alarms it really is a BIG deal!

We only take about 2 hours to get finished but it’s time very well spent – helping to protect the lives of some who might not otherwise have that protection! One of the years we went out there was actually a fire in a home we visited within just a few days of us installing a new smoke alarm. They previously did not have a smoke alarm but because we’d been there the weekend before the family was alerted to the smoke and were able to get out of the home safely!!!

{If you would like to donate batteries or smoke alarms please contact Rowlett Fire Marshall Bryan Beckner at bbeckner@rowlett.com or 972-463-3940.}

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