When people think of the American Red Cross responding to disasters, they often imagine the aftermath of a massive hurricane or deadly tornado. Trees uprooted and tossed aside, homes with missing roofs or destroyed by floodwaters. But it’s not the large-scale disasters that keep Red Cross volunteers busy day in and day out. Home fires are the most frequent disaster in the country, claiming seven lives every day in the U.S. In Northern Ohio, the Red Cross responds to more than three home fires, on average, every 24 hours.
As part of the national Sound the Alarm campaign, Red Cross staff, volunteers and community partners set aside specific weeks throughout the year to focus on educating residents about home fire safety and installing free smoke alarms where they are needed. From April 22 to May 12 staff and volunteers in northern Ohio, in partnership with local fire departments, held Sound the Alarm events in 11 communities across the region. They included:
- Henry County
- Willoughby Hills
During these events, volunteers met with local families to install free smoke alarms, helped them create a two-minute fire escape plan and shared safety information on home fires and other local disaster risks. In Northern Ohio, more than 600 homes were made safer, with over 1,500 smoke alarms installed.
For those who do have smoke alarms, the Red Cross recommends testing smoke alarms each month and practicing your escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes. It’s also important to teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do in an emergency.
While certain weeks of the year are designated as Sound the Alarm events, the Red Cross is working every day to help prepare communities for disasters like home fires. If you or someone you know needs smoke alarms, visit the Sound the Alarm page to find out how to request an appointment with one of our teams. You can partner with the Red Cross and donate to this lifesaving work. Without the financial support of generous donors, the Sound the Alarm campaign would not be possible.
Check out more photos from our Sound the Alarm events on Flickr. Thank you to everyone who joined us this year and we look forward to seeing you all again soon at a Sound the Alarm event near you!