Team Effort Makes Maple Heights Neighborhood Safer


More than 40 homes in Maple Heights are safer, after volunteers from several veteran-related service groups partnered with the Red Cross and the Maple Heights Fire Department to install smoke alarms and share fire safety information on Saturday, April 22.

Volunteers from The Mission Continues, Team Rubicon, and Team Red White and Blue went door-to-door in a neighborhood near Maple Heights High school to check existing smoke alarms, replace batteries, and install new smoke alarms where needed.  They also shared valuable fire safety information.

The Mission Continues  empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact. They deploy veterans on new missions in their communities, so that their actions will inspire future generations to serve.  The Cleveland 1st Service Platoon was launched this month.

Mikoyan Headen was grateful to have new smoke alarms installed in her home.  She survived a home fire as a child.  “Our house looked like burnt toast,” she said. “We lost everything and had to completely start over.”

Volunteers from another service group joined the Fire Safety Walk as well.  Three members of “We’re Not Famous, But We Made It” also installed smoke alarms where needed.  Volunteer James Davenport said, “Our members have hit bumps in the road along the way.  We want to make sure we give back to the community.”

It’s a perfect time to give back.  This is National Volunteer Week (April 23-29) and the Red Cross offers many volunteer opportunities.  Visit us at to begin the application process.

See more photos from the Fire Safety Walk in Maple Heights by visiting our Flickr page.

Summit County Smoke Alarm Hotline Now Up and Running

Red Cross Volunteers and Barberton Firefighters Prepare Free Smoke Alarm Installations

Red Cross Volunteers and Barberton Firefighters Prepare Free Smoke Alarm Installations on October 27, 2015

The effort to reduce fatalities from home fires continues in Northeast Ohio, as Red Cross volunteers and members of the Barberton Fire Department teamed up on October 27th, going door to door to install smoke alarms in homes where they were needed.

Residents received not only free smoke alarms, but also fire safety information.  The Barberton Fire Safety Walk took place on a particularly busy day for Red Cross disaster workers and volunteers, who responded to seven home fires in Summit, Stark Cuyahoga, Jefferson and Wayne Counties.The fires chased a total of 18 people from their homes, including 4 children and an adult in Canton, and three children and an adult in Shreve.

The residents of these home fires received assistance from the Red Cross valued at more than $2,600.  Typical financial assistance for home fire victims includes money for emergency lodging, food and clothing. Since July 1st, the Red Cross has given nearly $200,000 to residents affected by home fires.

The Red Cross Home Fire Prevention Campaign is meant to reduce the number of fatalities from home fires by 25% over a five year period.  Upcoming Fire Safety Walks are planned in North Akron on November 4, and Cuyahoga Falls November 10.  Firefighters from both communities will join Red Cross volunteers to install free smoke alarms and provide fire safety information in targeted neighborhoods.

Anyone in Summit County can request a free inspection of smoke alarms in their homes. If the alarms are not in working order, or if they are more than 10 years old, they will be replaced. Residents of Summit County can call the Smoke Alarm Hotline at 330-535-2030.

In Cleveland, residents can call the Operation Save-A-Life hotline 24 hours a day at 216-361-5535 to request a free fire safety inspection and smoke alarms for their homes.  More information is available for all residents of Northeast Ohio here.

Operation Save-A-Life Makes Neighborhoods in Lorain, Sandusky Safer

More than 100 Homes Now Outfitted with New Smoke Alarms

The American Red Cross effort to reduce the number of deaths from home fires continues in Northeast Ohio and across the country.

Locally, 316 smoke alarms were installed in a total of 102 homes on Saturday, October 17, as the result of Fire Safety Walks in Lorain and Sandusky.  Dedicated Red Cross staff members and volunteers were assisted by several partners, walking door-to-door installing the free alarms and offering residents vital fire safety information.

“We are trying to prevent home fires and provide fire safety tips,” said lead Red Cross volunteer Lora Taylor.  “Our goal is to install 200 smoke alarms today, with the help of the Ohio Army National Guard.”

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Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

That goal was surpassed, thanks largely to the efforts of a dozen volunteers from the 837th Combat Engineers at the Lorain Readiness Center. They were teamed with Red Cross staff and volunteers, and installed a total of 227 smoke alarms in 76 homes.  They replaced several old alarms, and in some cases, installed alarms in homes for the first time.

“They installed alarms in one home where there were none before we arrived.  Four children lived in that home,” according to Katie-Myers Griffith, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter.  “In another home, they installed alarms where a non-English speaking family tried their best to communicate their thankfulness.  It was an experience to watch the volunteers realize that this program saves lives, and to hear them talk about it.”

Red Cross volunteer Angel Paul, working her first Fire Safety Walk, said “We put smoke alarms in the home of a 93-year old woman who had tears in her eyes as she thanked the soldiers.  She was touched by their selflessness.”

Angel said another home was still being repaired due to a previous fire, and the homeowner still hadn’t gotten around to installing new smoke alarms.

At the same time, Red Cross volunteers in Sandusky installed 88 alarms in 26 homes, with the help of volunteers from the Sandusky Police and Fire Departments and the Home Depot.

Operation Save-A-Life is part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Prevention Campaign.  The goal is to reduce the number of deaths due to home fires by 25% over a five year period.

Installing smoke alarms is just the first step toward protecting your home from fire.  Learn more about preparing your family and preventing home fires here.

Operation Save-A-Life Volunteers Help Protect Euclid Residents From Home Fires

A neighborhood in Euclid is measurably safer today, after volunteers from the American Red Cross Greater Cleveland Chapter teamed up with employees from Lincoln Electric and the Euclid Fire Department to educate, check smoke alarms, replace old batteries, and install new alarms where needed.

It was the largest one-day installation event in the history of the Northeast Ohio Region.

Part of the Red Cross Operation Save-A-Life program, the Euclid Fire Safety Walk targeted homes on five streets west and north of Euclid High School on E. 222nd Street.  10 teams of volunteers fanned out across the neighborhood to go door-to-door, sharing fire safety information with nearly 700 households.

The enthusiastic volunteers were briefed by John Gareis, Regional Training Coordinator for the Northeast Ohio region of the Red Cross. Leading the dozens of volunteers from Lincoln Electric was CEO, Chris Mapes, who offered a prayer prior to the start of the walk, as volunteers gathered at the Euclid Fire Department.  Team leaders were chosen, team members were assigned, and the volunteers were dispatched, many working for several hours to make sure every house in the neighborhood was covered.

“Because smoke alarms cut the risk of death from fire in half, the efforts of the volunteers will help prevent human suffering,” according to Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region.  Mike also joined volunteers, asking residents to take two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills with their families.

Chris and Mike both worked diligently to determine fire safety needs and install smoke alarms when needed.  After seeing a group of children playing on Westport Ave., Chris traveled to the nearest Dairy Queen and bought Dilly Bars, taking them back to the kids who were grateful for the cool treats on a warm, sunny summer day.

Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late.  But a recent national survey shows more than 60% of Americans mistakenly believe they have five minutes or more to get out of a burning home.  And nearly 20% think they have at least 10 minutes to escape.  The poll also shows fewer than one in five families with children have actually practiced a home fire drill, and that nearly 70% of parents think their children would know what to do or how to escape a burning home with little help.  Those are some of the potentially deadly myths that were dispelled during the Fire Safety Walk.

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By the end of the day, 354 new smoke alarms had been installed, and many more existing alarms had fresh batteries, thanks to the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers from the Red Cross and Lincoln Electric.

The goal for fiscal year 2016 is to install 10,000 smoke detectors in the 22 county Northeast Ohio region, and we’re right on target:  by the end of September (the end of the first quarter of FY ’16) 2,585 smoke alarms had been installed.

If you would like to volunteer, or learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit