Operation Save-a-Life installs the 150,000th Smoke Alarm in Cleveland

It began in 1992, when five children died in a home fire. For Cleveland businessman, Sam Miller, those deaths were a wake-up call for change. The city had been experiencing 30-40 fire-related deaths each year.

That morning he called city leaders and the American Red Cross and soon the structure of Operation Save-a-Life began to take shape.

On December 19, 2014 the 150,000th smoke alarm was installed in the Erickson’s home on the west side of Cleveland.

“It is appropriate that this the home of five beautiful children,” said Sam Miller, who was in attendance at the installation, “as it was five deaths that were the catalyst for the creation of this life-saving program.”

Smoke alarms are integral in decreasing fire-related deaths. Experts agree that a family may have as few as two minutes to exit a burning home. Without the warning of a smoke alarm, the odds of getting out are severely lessened. To learn more about fire safety for your home, visit redcross.org.

In part to the efforts of Operation Save-a-Life, Cleveland has seen a continual drop in fire fatalities, which are at the lowest level in the past 100 years. So far, in 2014, there have been three.

“This program is one of our proudest achievements,” said Mary-Alice Frank, CEO for the Northeast Ohio Region, said to those gathered at the installation. Leaning down and handing the ceremonial gold smoke alarm to one of the Erickson children, she added, “May you know the sound that this alarm makes, but never have to hear it in an emergency.”

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Operation Save-A-Life is currently available to residents in Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Euclid, and South Euclid. The alarms are free, which is made possible through the donations of community members and local businesses, and are installed by the Cleveland Fire Department. Interested community members are encouraged to call their city’s contact number for further information:

Cleveland – (216) 361-5535

Cleveland Heights – (216) 291-2291

Euclid – (216) 289-8425

South Euclid – (216) 691-4273

For more details contact John Gareis at john.gareis@redcross.org


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