Iowa Pork Producers Association staff fired up the grill to feed volunteers at a Central Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross project at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on April 28.
“Today, we are sounding the alarm, going door to door in about 2,000 homes, helping make their homes safer by installing [smoke] alarms, checking their batteries and talking with them about their escape plan in case they have a home fire,” said Julie Struck, regional disaster officer for the local chapter. “This is our second largest project in Des Moines. The first one was in 2013.”
Nearly 300 Red Cross volunteers fanned out around the fairgrounds neighborhood to replace and install as many smoke detectors in a home as necessary for homeowners who indicated interest in the project. The Central Iowa Chapter set a project goal of 1,150 smoke alarm installs and 721 were actually installed on the day.
“Typically, we will put one in the main living area, not in the kitchen, in the bedrooms and if it’s a second story home or has a basement, we will make sure those are protected as well,” Struck said. “What we’ve experienced in the past is they may have batteries that are no longer working or the alarms are so old that they’re manufacturing age has expired, so we’ll replace those alarms.”
IPPA sponsored the lunch for the volunteers and grilled and served 325 pork burgers and other food at the Iowa Pork Tent as a community service project.
“There was no real benefit to Iowa Pork other than helping support a great cause,” said IPPA Marketing and Programs Director Kelsey Sutter. “It was a great event for IPPA to support.”
“We really appreciate the great work that the pork producers do in helping partner with us and we’re really excited,” Struck said.
The Red Cross works closely with Polk County Emergency Management, the Des Moines Fire Department and other organizations on the project and aims to serve areas of greatest need.