By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio
April 24, 2019- Have you ever lay awake at night worried about a loved one and their well-being? Are you ever worried about how prepared they are in the event of an emergency? This is how Luba Bar feels every day.
Luba lives in Las Vegas, but her elderly parents, John and Valentina Twaskiewych, live 2,072 miles away in Parma. Even though she visits whenever she can to make sure everything is well with her parents, she worries about their safety, especially in case of an emergency, like a home fire. Yesterday, during the 2019 Sound the Alarm kickoff event in Parma, American Red Cross volunteers and partners lent a helping hand to bring Luba peace of mind, by installing two smoke alarms in her parents’ home.
“I feel so much better, knowing that when I leave them again, they’ll be safe,” exclaimed Luba.
Following volunteers installing smoke alarms at no charge to the family and teaching them the importance of having an escape plan in the event of a home fire, Luba was pleasantly surprised and expressed her gratitude by adding, “Who does anything for anyone anymore? I’m so blessed that you do this.”
Home fires kill more people in a typical year in the United States than all other natural disasters combined. Most deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. In Northeast Ohio, the Red Cross responds, on average, to three home fires every 24 hours.
The Parma installation event kicked off Sound the Alarm, a two-week event during which volunteers and partners will visit local homes to help install 100,000 free smoke alarms nationally to help combat home fires. Yesterday, 132 free smoke alarms were installed in 55 Parma homes.
Sound the Alarm events are part of the Home Fire Campaign, which the Red Cross launched in 2014 to reduce fire deaths and injuries. So far, it has reached more than 1.7 million people and saved more than 580 lives nationwide. Since 2014, the Red Cross and local partners in Northeast Ohio have:
- Installed more than 42,800 free smoke alarms
- Made more than 11,200 households safer
- Reached more than 15,300 children through youth preparedness programs
There are more than 20 Sound the Alarm events remaining in Northeast Ohio from Saturday, April 27 to Saturday, May 11. Volunteers are still needed to install free smoke alarms and help families create home fire escape plans in high-risk communities.
To find a smoke alarm installation event near you to help local residents like John and Valentina Twaskiewych, visit SoundTheAlarm.org/NEO.
To see more photos from the Parma installation event, please visit our Flickr page.