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South High School gives out smoke detectors, batteries through partnership with the Minneapolis FD

Families can have smoke detectors and batteries delivered to them by calling the school nurse at South High School at 612-668-4311.

MINNEAPOLIS — For the past year, teachers, students and families have learned to adapt to distance learning, but this new method – has also given teachers a closer look inside their student’s lives at home.

“The teachers had started to hear the beeping in the background and noticed that there were some smoke detectors going off in their meetings,” said Becky Murphy, a licensed school nurse at South High School.

The sound echoing from different homes. “I’d have one student, and then I’d have another,” Katie Allebach, an AVID teacher and coordinator at South High School.

Allebach says the noise would go seemingly unnoticed by students. 

“A number of them are in apartment buildings, so there is the dynamic of you don’t necessarily have a ladder to get to it," she said. "Or I had a student who told me about her landlord had COVID-19 really bad and he couldn’t come and fix it.”

So, through a partnership with the Minneapolis Fire Department, South staff members are handing out smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to families in need. “We sent out the mail and announcement right before summer break and right away we had three families call us,” said Murphy.

On Wednesday, the school was able to secure 90 smoke detectors. Within the first day, nearly one-third of those were given away.

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 “It’s a hazard for their safety but as well, what a quality of life issue, if you are always listening to that chirping sound?” said Kristen Gupta, a French teacher at South HS.

The school was also able to give out 38 smoke detector batteries out of 50 within the first day of distribution.

“It’s a big deal,” said Allebach. “It seems small, but it’s a big deal.”

The Minneapolis Fire Department has partnered with Minneapolis schools for many years. With the new year and new challenges with distance learning, the Minneapolis Fire added: “This has opened the opportunity to educate families on what a beeping smoke alarm means – typically just needing a new battery – and also the opportunity to get batteries and new alarms to the families who need them most.”

In the long run, saving lives and keeping students focused while learning from home.

Families can have smoke detectors and batteries delivered to them by calling the school nurse at South High School at 612-668-4311.