MedWatch Today: American Red Cross plans to install thousands of smoke alarms

Med Watch Today

On Saturday, April 27, volunteers at the American Red Cross will install thousands of smoke alarms in homes of “at risk neighborhoods” in Fresno – and it’s all for free to the homeowners. It’s part of the Red Cross’ “Sound the Alarm” campaign.

They respond to wildfires, hurricanes, floods. Whether it’s a local or national disaster, you can count on the Red Cross to be there. But, the Red Cross does much more than just provide aid after a disaster. They help to prevent them.

“We go out and we canvass neighborhoods that we think that are targeting neighborhoods that might be need of the service of getting smoke detectors installed,” stated long-time Red Cross volunteer John Martinez.

Martinez explained the Red Cross’ annual “Sound the Alarm” campaign. He and other volunteers, like Debby Dailey, will walk through at-risk neighborhoods in Fresno to install free smoke alarms and replace batteries in existing ones. They will also educate families about fire prevention and safety.

Debby said, “We also go through a disaster plan, escape route, and what you should have available for disasters if something were to happen.”

Debby is a nurse educator at Clovis Community Medical Center and has been a dedicated volunteer at the Red Cross for about 40 years. She says it’s in her nature to help.

“With the many fires that we have here in the Central Valley, it’s important,” stated Debby.

Both John and Debby also happen to be former firefighters. They say they know all too well how important it is for a home to have a working smoke alarm.

John commented, “As a firefighter, my experience has been to, they’re so critically important in the case of a fire because the time, the opportunity and the notice that it gives you to get out. You only have two minutes to get out of a fire.”

During the “Sound the Alarm” campaign, the volunteers work closely with fire departments and collaborate with other local groups, like the staff from Community Regional Medical Center’s Leon S. Peters Burn Center.

“At the Burn Center, from the first of this year, we’ve actually had six people hospitalized due to home fires. Half of those people did not have working smoke alarms,” said registered nurse Shana Henry.

Shana is also an injury prevention specialist at the Leon S. Peters Burn Center.

She said, “With programs like Red Cross and fire departments teaming up to help our community, people can get these smoke alarms installed at little to no cost.”

The Red Cross said every day, seven people die in home fires. But, with the help of the community and volunteers, they want to do everything they can to prevent these needless tragedies. In just four years, the Red Cross’ efforts to install free smoke alarms has saved hundreds of lives and made hundreds of thousands of households safer.

For more information on the American Red Cross’ “Sound the Alarm” campaign, click here.

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