Since October 2014, the campaign has saved at least 17 lives in Northern Ohio
The American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign with the support of community partners has achieved its goal of installing 2.5 million free smoke alarms and making 1 million households safer across the country.
Since launching in October 2014, the campaign has saved at least 1,583 lives nationwide — including 17 people in Northern Ohio — from the threat of home fires, which claim seven lives every day in the U.S. Most often, these tragedies occur in homes without working smoke alarms.
“We are proud of our incredible work with community partners to help save lives by providing free smoke alarms in Northern Ohio as part of the national Home Fire Campaign,” said John Gareis, Regional Preparedness Manager. “And we take special pride in knowing that the smoke alarm program we started more than 30 years ago in Cleveland served as a model for the current Red Cross Home Fire Campaign.” Watch a video of the history of the Home Fire Campaign in Cleveland.
In Northern Ohio since the start of the Home Fire Campaign in 2014, Red Cross volunteers and partners have:
Installed more than 100,000 free smoke alarms
Made 37,400 households safer
Educated more than 31,000 children through youth preparedness programs
FREE HOME FIRE SERVICES TO CONTINUE Because home fires remain a daily threat and the campaign has made a lifesaving difference, the Red Cross will be continuing the program with community partners as part of its standard services, including Sound the Alarm events in communities throughout the region this spring to install free smoke alarms.
Visit soundthealarm.org/noh for a home fire safety visit if you need assistance, or to volunteer. No prior experience is needed. Training will be provided before volunteer teams visit area homes to install smoke alarms and share fire safety information. During the Sound the Alarm appointments, volunteers will install free smoke alarms, and will share information on the causes of home fires, how to prevent them, what to do if a fire starts and how to create an escape plan.
In addition, the campaign’s other services will continue, such as teaching children about the threat of home fires and what to do through youth preparedness programs, installing accessible fire safety equipment like bedshaker alarms and strobe light smoke alarms for residents who are deaf or hard of hearing, and providing home fire
safety resources in American Sign Language.
Home fires account for most of the more than 60,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to annually in the Northern Ohio Region and across the country. So far in 2023, Red Cross volunteers have helped nearly 400 people affected by nearly 200 home fires in the Northern Ohio Region by providing emergency lodging, financial
assistance for urgent needs like food and clothing, and one-on-one recovery support for navigating next steps and connecting with community resources.
ONE HOME FIRE SURVIVOR’S STORY: Akron grandfather Shawn Spaulding had just returned home after a long day at work when fire broke out in his home. Read about his escape here.
Read more stories and see the campaign’s national impact at redcross.org/HomeFireStories.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED Help save lives through the campaign by becoming a volunteer or making a financial donation to prepare, respond and help families recover from home fires. Learn more at redcross.org/noh.
You can also help your family by testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your two-minute home fire escape plan. Additional safety tips are available at redcross.org/fire and on the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in mobile app stores).
Posted by Ryan Lang, Red Cross board member and volunteer