Life Saving Tools Distributed In Chattanooga

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 11/05/2012 1:16 pm
It's a device Willie Rucker wishes he had 43 years ago.

Rucker adds, "The flame was so intense, it kept pushing me back."

Rucker says he even tried to put a coat over his face and push through the flames that were devouring his house, but it was no use.

The flames were too strong at that point.

They ultimately engulfed his 2-year-old brother.

Rucker adds, "I don't want people to feel the pain that I felt at that time, and then go to the funeral home knowing that your brother was in that casket burnt so bad you can't see the body."

The Rucker's did not have a smoke detector.

It is a tragic story the Red Cross has unfortunately heard before.

They help three to five hundred families a year in similar situations.

Now, To reduce that number they are hitting the pavement with the Chattanooga fire marshal.

James Whitmire, the Chattanooga Fire Marshal, says, "Smoke detectors run anywhere from five to seven dollars. You change your batteries twice a year, it's a very simple way to protect your family and their loved ones."

Every daylight savings time, they go door to door to install new smoke detectors in people's homes or just replace batteries, whatever is needed.

Sherry English, a resident, adds, "Just haven't checked it in awhile. I'm not sure if its working or not."

The crew spent their Saturday going to more than 170 homes, helping at least half.

The Red Cross says you would be surprised how many children take the batteries out of the smoke detectors to use in other household items.

Emily Fish, with the Red Cross in Chattanooga, says, "It may be a small amount of money or a small thing, but it can save lives and it can save your home."

Those are words of advice that hit home for Rucker, as he takes his free life saving device home.

Now, two times a year the fire department targets a certain area, and this year was Martin Luther King Street in Chattanooga.

Most of the smoke alarms were donated by local businesses.
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