The American Red Cross, with the help of several local agencies, including the Idyllwild Fire Department, offered free installation of smoke alarms and tested the batteries of installed fire alarms throughout Idyllwild and Fern Valley this week.

American Red Cross has been offering this program across the country. The goal is to reduce fire deaths 20 percent over five years. This is the first year of the program.

“It’s a national campaign,” said Lois Beckman, executive director of the Riverside County chapter of American Red Cross. “We’ve set a goal to install 200 smoke alarms in Idyllwild …”

The opportunity to help Idyllwild came about because the Riverside County chapter is sponsoring a teen leadership conference at Idyllwild Pines this week.

“With the youth camp in Idyllwild, we needed a good way to engage the campers with the community,” she explained. Offering the smoke-alarm installation program was a simple choice.

In teams of three, with adults, too, the teens at the camp will be walking through town to help with and record the installations. The foot traffic limits their ability to serve the entire Hill. In addition, Beckman said, Red Cross has found it easier to work with one fire agency at a time, which is why they approached the Idyllwild Fire Department.

Beckman stressed that Red Cross in Riverside County works closely with Cal Fire and the County Office of Emergency Services. She plans to suggest the program to Cal Fire and will specifically mention Station 23 in Pine Cove.