By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — An effort to build relationships between two different faith groups, Catholics and Mormons, takes place this April with a life-saving initiative.
On average, seven people die every day because of a home fire. And according to the American Red Cross, 60 percent of home fire deaths occur in homes that lack working smoke alarms.
To help make homes safer, Bishop Martin Amos of the Diocese of Davenport and Doug Cropper, stake president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormon), have partnered along with other volunteers and the Red Cross to install smoke alarms April 9 in the Quad-City area.
Bishop Amos and Cropper met several times over the past year to look for opportunities for collaboration. “We have talked about doing some service project together,” Bishop Amos said. “This seemed like a great opportunity. Doug invited me to be a part of his team and I thought that in light of the Year of Mercy it would be a good chance for me personally to do something like this.”
Cropper said the LDS church has done this project in other communities in Iowa, but not in this region. He looked forward to the opportunity.
Kent Ferris, director of Social Action and Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Davenport, said volunteers will go out in teams of three throughout the Iowa and Illinois Quad-City area on April 9 to conduct the initiative. Certain neighborhoods have been identified for the effort.
“There is no cost for the volunteers or those who are receiving smoke alarms,” Ferris said.
A week before the event volunteers will distribute fliers (in English and Spanish) to homes to inform the occupants about the April 9 event. On that date, volunteers will return in teams to install smoke alarms, if homeowners agree.
Each team has three positions: installer, documenter and safety educator. According to the Red Cross, the installer is responsible for installing the smoke alarms with the resident’s permission and within program and manufacturer’s guidelines.
The documenter is responsible for tracking supplies and ensuring documentation is completed correctly. The safety educator is responsible for reviewing a fire safety check list with the resident, assisting the resident in completing a household disaster plan and providing helpful safety information.
All volunteers for April 9 need to sign up in advance and attend a training session. The training and installation window runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. “There is no cost other than time,” Ferris noted.
To volunteer, register at www.redcross.org/csil-homefire.