Up & Coming Weekly

March 17, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 23 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM MARCH 18-24, 2020 UCW 23 Hope Mills News & Views Free home smoke alarms are coming to Hope Mills, courtesy of the American Red Cross. Phil Harris, executive director of the Sandhills Chapter of the Red Cross, is looking for com- munity volunteers to make up teams that will be headed for Hope Mills on Saturday, April 25, to areas in town that have been identified as being at higher risk for home fires or lacking smoke detectors. The Red Cross has been involved in installing smoke alarms since 2014, and the program has now gone national, Harris said. "We do it throughout the year, but we want to make a push in April,'' he said. Harris said the Red Cross knows that working smoke alarms save lives. He said since the Red Cross began installing the free smoke alarms nationwide, 715 lives have been saved by alarms that were placed in homes. "We know people don't think it will ever hap- pen to them,'' he said of a home fire. "If we get that extra alert, we remind them they only have two minutes to get out,'' he said. In addition to installing the smoke detectors, the Red Cross provides the people they visit with basic fire safety information. "Do they know how to crawl below the smoke?" Harris said. "Do they know to get out and stay out?'' Harris said the Red Cross also stresses the impor- tance for families to have a plan on how to get out of the house and where to go when they have left the home. In addition to having at least two routes planned to escape their home in a fire, Harris said it's important for families to have a central meet- ing place where everyone should rendezvous when they've left the house. "You need to have a meeting spot so the fire- men don't go in and think somebody is still in there,'' he said. "Everybody is accounted for. All of those things come into play with saving a life.'' Harris said the Red Cross is able to provide free smoke detectors thanks to some grants and the support of major sponsors like Lowe's and Delta Airlines. He said the Sandhills chapter continues to seek more local businesses to sponsor the program in this area. The Red Cross also has a home fire campaign that can provide direct financial assistance to families who have been displaced by a fire. Previously they've helped 166 families deal with the aftermath of a fire. The alarms the Red Cross installs are what Harris referred to as 10-year alarms. "We found these are great for seniors who can't change a bat- tery periodically,'' Harris said. Harris said the Red Cross cooperated with the Hope Mills Fire Department to identify high-risk areas in the town most in need of smoke detectors. Now they need approximately 125 volunteers to fan out in teams on April 25 and install the smoke detectors. Each team will be composed of four people, Harris said. There's the actual installer, one member who will record the number of people in each home, one to educate the family on basic fire safety and one to introduce the team to each house- hold and explain its purpose. People can volunteer as late as the day of the event, but early signup is preferred. They can sign up at soundthealarm.org or call the local chapter at 910-867-8151. Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner applauds the Red Cross for bringing the free smoke detectors to Hope Mills. "It's going to improve safety,'' she said. "I was glad they targeted Hope Mills. This is the first time they've entertained coming here.'' Free smoke detectors coming to Hope Mills by EARL VAUGHAN JR. NEWS The Red Cross has been involved in installing smoke alarms since 2014 and the program has now gone national. Speaking contest focuses on voting rights by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Dr. Tremaine Canteen thinks 2020 is a significant year to cel- ebrate the importance of vot- ing rights in this country and is seeking to do it through an oratorical contest for high school students. Canteen, in conjunction with the Hope Mills chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, originally planned to the contest on Feb. 29 at the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Center. Because of a lack of participants, the event was postponed. A new date has now been set for Saturday, April 25, still at the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Center. The contest will begin at 1 p.m. The contest was originally meant to coincide with Black History Month, but Canteen said the significance of the topic makes the date of the contest a bit more flexible, although she's encouraging anyone interested to sign up as quickly as possible. The contest is open to all high school students from grades 9-12. They do not have to be residents of Cumberland County. The topic for the speeches is "Her Story: African- Americans and the vote." Canteen feels 2020 is an excellent year to hold a contest like this for several reasons. "This is the centennial for the 19th amendment that deals with the right to vote regardless of sex,'' she said. She added it's the 150th anniversary of the 15th amendment, which deals with having the right to vote regardless of race. She feels it's important to hear from teen-age voices on the subject. "I think this is a good year to celebrate change, but to bring awareness to where we are in society right now,'' she said. "Who better to hear it from than children?" Canteen feels teenagers have powerful things to say on the subject and bring a different per- spective to the topic. Each speech will be limited to three to five minutes, and the speakers will be timed during their presentations. The judges will be listening for creativity and content. One reason Canteen is encouraging young people to sign up for the competition as quickly as possible is so members of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority can work with them prior to the compe- tition to help them with basic speaking skills. For details on how to sign up for the contest, contact Canteen at drtremainecanteen@ gmail.com. Trophies and three cash prizes will be awarded, $150 for first place, $75 for second an $50 for third. "I see this as a way to prepare kids for life,'' Canteen said. "In any career you're successful in, there is going to be an element of public speak- ing. This is a topic that's never going to die.'' Visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAI pQLSd21fkHXJ5JDb7LhomyfpmybaVp4LojZOm- w8Wd0jDH284z4wA/viewform to apply online. Dr. Tremaine Canteen

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