At Clearwater Fire Station 51, officials say people underestimate the importance of a smoke alarm, they say installing one of these can save your life when you least expect it.By Casey Albritton

CLEARWATER, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Clearwater Fire and Rescue and the American Red Cross are working to make residents in Clearwater safer. Tuesday afternoon the groups spent hours installing free smoke alarms in people’s homes.

At Clearwater Fire Station 51, officials say people underestimate the importance of a smoke alarm, they say installing one of these can save your life when you least expect it.

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City of Clearwater Fire Chief, Scott Ehlers, says one of the most important things to have in your home is a working fire alarm.

“A smoke detector is vital in saving that individuals life if something were to go wrong,” said Ehlers. That information that says ‘Hey, something is wrong. You need to get out of the house,’ is detrimental,” he said.

He says he’s trying to remind everyone about that importance, especially after one elderly man died in a fire last week.

“The most recent incident that we had is literally a stone throw away from the fire station here. Literally in their backyard. We had a great response time but unfortunately we were too late because the smoke had taken this life,” said Ehlers.

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So now the Clearwater Fire Department and the American Red Cross are teaming up to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again.

Axl David, with the American Red Cross, says “We come across a lot of alarms that are over 10 years old or they don’t have a battery that works in it, we install new lithium ion batteries that are sealed inside, so instead of replacing batteries like we used to, we will put in a whole new smoke alarm.”

He says on Tuesday, ten groups went through the area surrounding Clearwater Fire Station 51, and installed new fire alarms in homes. He says people need to check their fire alarms regularly to make sure they are working.

“We know that most houses that have a working smoke alarm have a dramatically increased chance of survival if they have a home fire,” said David.

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Ff you need a new fire alarm, officials say you can contact the Clearwater Fire Department or the American Red Cross.