Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Volunteers rally to Sound the Alarm

Get a fire alarm installed in your home for free

When the call comes into the Central Firehouse and the trucks roll to a location in Peekskill, it is frequently a house fire. As firefighters are putting out flames, another call goes out, to the American Red Cross’s Disaster Action Teams, because people are now homeless and in need of assistance. 

The numbers for Peekskill are sobering: 13 fires, 77 houses, and 167 people displaced since January of 2021 according to the Red Cross. Most recently, that scenario played out in Peekskill twice in the past four months when two structure fires  rendered more than 44 people without a home. 

Because of those numbers, Peekskill was selected as the site of a “Sound the Alarm” volunteer effort to place smoke alarm detectors in homes for free this Saturday, March 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Red Cross volunteers and community members gather at the Peekskill Central Firehouse and spread out throughout the city with smoke alarms, ladders and manpower to install the devices in people’s homes. There is no criteria to have an alarm installed other than needing it. New York State law requires that every bedroom have one smoke alarm. 

Red Cross volunteer placing an alarm in a home in the Bronx. This Saturday volunteers will be in Peekskill installing free alarms.

In the ten years “Sound the Alarm” has been in existence the Red Cross said 2,000 lives have been saved. They have installed three million alarms in one million homes since 2014. Last year New Rochelle was designated as a “Sound the Alarm” city where they installed 239 alarms, making 72 homes safer. 

While alarms are being installed and tested in bedrooms, kitchens, tv rooms, sleeping areas, and hallways, another volunteer is showing the people living in the house how to get out of the house, if there is a fire, in under two minutes. Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death from home fires in half.  

A Red Cross volunteer discussing with a Bronx  resident last May how she could get out of her house within two minutes if there is a fire.

“It’s a way to interact with the community when they are calm and not in a crisis situation,” said Fred Klein of the Red Cross, Metropolitan area.  

To schedule  an appointment for the free smoke alarm installation go to or call (845) 673-1198.


About the Contributor
Regina Clarkin, Editor and Publisher
When the Peekskill Herald weekly newspaper ceased publishing in August 2000 it was the first time in the history of the city that there wasn’t a local newspaper.  The award-winning weekly was often referred to as the ‘glue’ of the community. Founded on January 9, 1986 by Regina Clarkin, Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik with a $7,000 credit card line, the paper filled the void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to Gannett and moved out of town. Founding publisher Regina Clarkin continued to live in the Peekskill Cortlandt area and turned her attention to other life endeavors.  Through the ensuing 19 years, Clarkin was frequently stopped in town and asked when she would start up the Herald again. In January 2019, Clarkin decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2020, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July of 2021. Peekskill Herald is a digital relative of the former print edition, featuring many of the favorite aspects of the beloved Peekskill Herald such as old pictures, personality profiles and well written stories about newsworthy events. Regina Clarkin is the editor and publisher of the site. Photo by Joe Squillante