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Red Cross and Kentucky Power install free smoke alarms on Martin Luther King Day of Service

January 20, 2020

WHITESBURG, Ky. – Kentucky Power joined the American Red Cross Eastern Kentucky Chapter and three volunteer fire departments on Martin Luther King Day of Service to provide free smoke detectors to those in need in Letcher County.

The smoke alarm install is the second to be funded by a $40,000 grant from the American Electric Power Foundation awarded in 2019. A third installation is planned for Pike County later this year. The Red Cross partners with community volunteer fire departments to canvass targeted low income areas and provide smoke detectors to those in need.

“The generous donation from the American Electric Power Foundation allows the American Red Cross serving eastern Kentucky to install 200 alarms in Letcher County on this important day of service, making 80 homes safer,” said Debbie Ranier, executive director of the Eastern Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross. “Without partners like Kentucky Power, we wouldn’t be able to reach as many families through our Home Fire Campaign.”

One of the best ways to prepare for a home fire is to have working smoke detectors. They can reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by nearly 50 percent, according to the Red Cross.

“The Red Cross responds to more than 300 home fires in eastern Kentucky every year,” said Kentucky Power President Brett Mattison. “This partnership is a good fit for Kentucky Power because too many home fires in our region can be traced to electrical issues. One fire is one too many. And we know having working smoke detectors in the home can provide residents valuable time to escape. Homes will be made safer and lives will be saved.”

Sen. Johnny Ray Turner, D-Drift, whose 29th district includes Letcher County, noted the importance of the event.

“According to the U.S. Fire Administration, house fires claimed the lives of 60 Kentuckians just last year,” Sen. Turner said. “In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., I hope this day of service helps bring out many volunteers to serve our community and protect our neighbors in the case of a fire. A special thanks to Red Cross, Kentucky Power, and all the volunteers taking part in this event.”

The AEP Foundation is funded by AEP and its operating units, including Kentucky Power. AEP Foundation grants are not tracked for recovery from customers through rates. The Foundation focuses grants on improving lives through education in science, technology, engineering, math and the environment and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger in the communities it serves. Ashland –based Kentucky Power serves 165,000 customers.

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