Panhandle Spirit: "Sound the Alarm"

Students with three area high schools have partnered with the Red Cross to deliver and install free smoke alarms in homes in the Amarillo and Canyon area(ABC7 Amarillo)

A large group of students from three area high schools is preparing to help the Red Cross on a nationwide project. It’s called “Sound the Alarm”, and the goal is to deliver and install one-thousand smoke alarms for free in the Amarillo and Canyon area. While the ultimate aim is to save lives, it’s also a way for these high schoolers to show they are embracing the chance to give back to their community.

Through his work with the Red Cross, Executive Director Kiley Murray has seen the value of these smoke alarms firsthand, mostly in cases where families didn’t have them who lost their homes to a fire. He also sees the value in enlisting the help of students in the cause.

“Bringing an awareness of one strong community together, the spirit of the area, and caring for one another,” Murray said.

They reached out to the National Honor Societies at Canyon High School, River Road, and Palo Duro. For the past few weeks, the students have been recruiting classmates to help, through installing the alarms or delivering the message of safety to families.

“From a very young age, we’re taught that smoke alarms are a big deal, smoke alarms save lives. Then, over time you get older, you start thinking about different things and smoke alarms become this thing that never really gets on your mind until one of the alarm’s batteries die and you end up having to change it in the middle of the night,” said Jaren Tankersely, Canyon High School senior.

But these students also have a terrific grasp of the importance of recognizing a need and answering the call to action, in the Panhandle Spirit.

“We’re showing people that we’re not just a high school that’s full of lazy kids. We’re actually getting out, and getting involved in helping the community,” said Jenna Downs, River Road junior.

Drew Hamlin, of Palo Duro High School, said she and her fellow students were quickly persuaded to get behind the push to install as many smoke alarms as possible after watching a presentation that showed just how effective they are in saving lives in a house fire.

“I don’t want to lose somebody to something so simple as two screws in a wall,” Hamlin said.

The schools already have compiled their lists of homes, but if you’d like them to install the alarms at your house, just contact the Red Cross, and they’ll add you to it.

The students will be in neighborhoods Saturday, April 28, starting around 10am and wrapping up in the late afternoon.

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