Sound The Alarm!

Home fires kill more people every year than all other disasters combined. That’s why the American Red Cross is gearing up to Sound the Alarm as part of its Home Fire Campaign.

The National Signature Event kicks off April 28th and will continue for 16 days until May 13th. In 100 cities nationally, the Red Cross will install 100,000 smoke alarms and replace smoke alarm batteries. During these installations, volunteers will also provide home fire safety education, including developing fire escape plans. The goal of Sound the Alarm, and of the Home Fire Campaign, is to reduce home fire injuries and fatalities.

Locally the Home Fire Campaign, which began in 2014, has seen real success and has made all the difference for one Ohio family. The Central Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Columbus Division of Fire did a canvassing rally event in the Franklinton area of Columbus during July of 2016. Nine days later there was a fire in one of the homes where a smoke alarm had been installed. Ohio Buckeye Region Disaster Program Manager Emily Hesselbein has worked closely with the campaign and remembers the details of the event.

“The family was able to escape their home due to the smoke alarms going off and from the knowledge they had after completing a home fire escape plan. It was my first experience seeing directly the effect the campaign has on families, the life-saving work that is being done,” recalled Emily.

Nationally, the Red Cross has verified almost 400 lives saved in just the three and a half years since the Home Fire Campaign was implemented. The Red Cross is looking to increase this statistic in 2018 and to reduce death and injury due to home fires by 25% by 2020. Help achieve this goal within your own home and protect yourself from fires by practicing fire drills regularly and checking your own fire alarms once a month.

Locally, Sound the Alarm will be implemented in at- risk neighborhoods in both Toledo and Columbus. Volunteers, fire departments, and local partners will install 2,000 smoke alarms, adding to the 25,260 alarms installed since 2014 just in the Ohio Buckeye Region alone. A region-wide “blitz” day will also be held on May 5th in Newark, Westerville, Bascom, Toledo, Morgan County, and McCutchenville to raise visibility and social engagement for the campaign.

The Ohio Buckeye Region will also hold canvassing rally events April 28th in Columbus, Tiffin, and Coschocton County; May 4th in Perry County; and May 12th in Columbus to get Ohio communities involved.

By volunteering to install smoke alarms, making a financial contribution, or fundraising for the cause, you can also Sound the Alarm and make a difference within your local community.

“This is truly a One Red Cross event, a community event,” said Emily. “To be successful, we all need to come together and participate.”

Visit Sound the Alarm to learn more about what you can do within the Ohio Buckeye Region and how you can help the Red Cross to save lives locally and nationwide.

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