Volunteers from the American Red Cross installed free smoke alarms...

Volunteers from the American Red Cross installed free smoke alarms in the homes of several Long Beach residents Saturday. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez

Harold Prince pressed the button on a smoke detector installed above a small stove in his Long Beach co-op’s kitchen.

“I don’t think it works or anything,” he said Saturday morning.

Nearby, volunteers with the American Red Cross on Long Island installed a new smoke detector — good for 10 years — in a more suitable location for the 91-year-old resident.

It was part of a nationwide Sound the Alarm program. Red Cross volunteers, in a partnership with the City of Long Beach, fanned out in teams to about 20 homes Saturday where residents had signed up to receive complimentary smoke detectors.

Prince moved into the apartment about two years ago after his wife died. The couple had lived in Franklin Square for about 60 years previously, he said.

His daughter, Linda Prince, of Long Beach, said her father had recently received a letter from the building landlord notifying him of an upcoming inspection. That’s when they realized the apartment lacked a working smoke detector.

“The timing worked out,” she said of the opportunity for Red Cross volunteers to visit.

The American Red Cross launched the House Fire Campaign in 2014, which includes the Sound the Alarm movement. More than 2.7 million smoke alarms have been installed nationwide through the program, according to the Red Cross.

House fires result in about seven fatalities daily across the country, according to the Red Cross.

Jose Dominguez, CEO of American Red Cross on Long Island, said the organization has over 1,000 volunteers across the Island who install smoke detectors and also respond to assist victims of house fires.

Republican Nassau Legis. Patrick Mullaney, a Long Beach resident and New York City firefighter, said a smoke detector is “invaluable.”

He added that in case of a fire, it’s paramount for anyone inside a building to close doors as they evacuate. He said the heat and smoke of a fire is “starved for fresh air,” and the combination of an open window and door can quickly accelerate the spread of flames.

Volunteer Jose Martin, wearing a Red Cross vest, installed one new detector in Valerie Saladino’s home, where she recently moved in with her family.

Saladino said she had participated in the program previously and was unsure of the status of her smoke detectors in the new house. Martin confirmed each detector in the four bedrooms worked properly.

He pointed out how every bedroom is required to have a smoke detector.

Not every house visit Saturday resulted in a new installation.

The volunteers checked the lone smoke detector in Mark Nissenbaum’s studio where he’s lived since 1999. The smoke detector didn’t need replacement.

“As long as it works,” the 78-year-old resident said, while thanking the volunteers for checking.

Long Beach City Council Member Michael Reinhart said it was important to get the message out about fire safety.

“These are the kind of partnerships that the City Council and City want to continue to grow,” he said.

More information about the program and upcoming smoke detector installation events can be found at soundthealarm.org/li.

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