Fast start for Sound the Alarm

Corporate partners and volunteers help save lives at Sound the Alarm events

By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

April 29, 2019- “This isn’t so much a corporate event—it’s really just people helping otherIMG_7080 people.” That’s how Kim Giberson, the quality assurance project manager for TravelCenters of America summed up his company’s participation in Sound the Alarm.

Kim was among more than a dozen TravelCenters of America employees who gathered on a bright, crisp Saturday morning to install free smoke alarms in homes in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood on Cleveland’s west side.

“When you hear about the need to protect people’s homes, you realize you need to do something,” he said.

Several other partners provided volunteers for home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events, not only in Cleveland, but also in Youngstown, Ravenna and Sandusky, where Rob Griggs and his sister Tricia Costanzo went door-to-door to help make homes safer and, ultimately, save lives.

“This cause is near and dear to our hearts,” Rob said. “We lost our parents and a brother in a home fire in January of 2018. Anything we can do to help someone else avoid the same fate, we’ll do.”

IMG_6362ASound the Alarm is a nationwide American Red Cross campaign meant to help save lives. Teams of volunteers are going door-to-door across the country through May 11, installing smoke alarms and providing home fire safety information. Several more installation events are planned throughout the Northeast Ohio region.

“We are off to a great start here in Northeast Ohio,” said Tim O’Toole, Red Cross regional disaster officer. Through five events, we have tallied 922 alarms installed in 391 homes.”

The goal in Northeast Ohio is to install 3,000 alarms by May 11. It’s part of the national goal to install 100,000 smoke alarms.

The Burn Center at MetroHealth is honored to be part of the Red Cross Sound the Alarm event,” said Brandy Kulak, a nurse manager at the hospital’s Comprehensive Burn Care Center. “We know firsthand how important prevention is, and how seconds can make a tremendous difference when there is a fire.”

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Volunteer opportunities still exist for the remaining Sound the Alarm events throughout Northeast Ohio. Visit SoundTheAlarm.org/NEO to find an event near you.

Kim Giberson plans to volunteer for another Sound the Alarm event next weekend in Medina. “It makes you feel good.”

See photos from our Cleveland Sound the Alarm event here.

See photos from our Youngstown Sound the Alarm event here.

See photos from our Sandusky Sound the Alarm event here.

See photos from our Ravenna sound the Alarm event here.

See photos from our Parma sound the Alarm event here.

See photos from our Sound the Alarm kick-off news conference here.

See photos from our North Ridgeville Sound the Alarm event here.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer.

Photos provided by Cal Pusateri, Doug Bardwell, Eric Alves, Jim McIntyre, and Karen Conklin – American Red Cross.

After Escaping Home Fire, Ravenna Family Turns to Red Cross for Relief

norton-family-in-their-hotel-room-edna-jerome-sr-raymil-and-malik-1
It was an ordinary August morning for Edna Norton until she returned home to find her house ablaze.

Surrounded by nearly a dozen fire trucks, Norton rushed to meet her family outside of their home in Ravenna, Ohio. Much to her relief, her husband and sons made it to safety after the eldest rescued his 18-year-old brother, who uses a wheelchair. But the threat to her family’s lives and destruction to their home left her distraught.

A Red Cross volunteer responding to the fire came to Norton’s side, offering comfort and support.

“She had a spirit about her. She was so calming and soothing,” Norton said of the volunteer. “She made you feel like you could make it through. She was very knowledgeable. I was a wreck. She made me sit down. Gave me water. She was still there after [the first responders] were leaving.”

The Red Cross helped Norton and her family figure out their next steps, addressing urgent needs such as replacing prescription medications that were destroyed by the fire. She said she’s grateful for the support to develop a path for their recovery.

edna-norton-with-red-cross-worker-debbie-chitester-2“To lose everything and to know [there are] people out there that care…There are a lot of good people out in the world,” she added. “I’m telling you that I had so much generosity, so much love, from strangers saying, ‘What can I do to help?’”

If you would like to volunteer as a member of the Red Cross team, visit www.redcross.org/neo and click on Volunteer.

Photos: Mary Williams/American Red Cross