Do you hear it? Sound the Alarm is coming

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

March 18, 2019 – Mark your calendar. It’s coming.

April 27 through May 12 are the dates for the 2019 Sound the Alarm campaign.

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This spring, the American Red Cross needs your help to install 100,000 free smoke alarms and raise funds for lifesaving services in more than 100 cities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands during Sound the Alarm home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events.

And, to quasi-quote Smokey the Bear, “Only you can help ensure our success.” One day of your time might be the difference that saves a family’s lives.

Every day, seven people die in home fires and the Red Cross wants to do everything we can to prevent these needless tragedies. That’s why we launched our Home Fire Campaign.

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Volunteer participants work alongside fire departments and other local groups, canvassing at-risk neighborhoods to install free smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms, educate families about fire prevention and safety, and fund raise to help sponsor this lifesaving mission.

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It’s a perfect time to grab your family, your friends and your neighbors to come along and do a good deed installing smoke alarms. You needn’t be a Red Cross volunteer or employee to work these events. Instructions, tools and supplies are all provided the day of the event.

Last year, during the inaugural Sound the Alarm event, more than 103,000 smoke alarms were installed in 43,000 homes nationally over a three-week period. There was also an impact locally. In Northeast Ohio, during the same three-week period, 350 volunteers installed 2,500 alarms in more than 900 homes.

To date, there are 511 lives that have been saved because of smoke alarms installed during previous Sound the Alarm events. More than 1.5 million free smoke alarms have been installed to date.

To find upcoming Sound the Alarm installation events and to sign-up to volunteer to an event near you, visit SoundTheAlarm.org/NEO.

Unable to attend?  You can always make a donation that helps educate families and children about home safety. A donation can also provide food, shelter and comfort to those who’ve lost their home to a fire.

Donate today at https://www.redcross.org/donate/home-fire-campaign.html/ or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer.

All photos by Doug Bardwell.

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Preparing Families for Emergencies

Most people believe that on the First Day of Christmas the appropriate gift to give is a Partridge in a Pear Tree. Well, the Red Cross believes in building Disaster Resilient Neighborhoods during the Holiday Season, as well throughout the year.

To help you select stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts designed to make individuals, families and the homes they live in as safe as possible, the Red Cross has put together the following recommendations for gifts for the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Smoke AlarmOn the First Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you install a SMOKE ALARM. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a home; outside bedrooms on the ceiling or high on the wall, at the top of open stairways and at the bottom of enclosed stairs and near (but not in) the kitchen. It is important to check your Smoke Alarms every month and replace their batteries when Daylight Savings Time begins in the spring and ends in the fall.

CO2On the Second Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you install a CARBON MONOXIDE (CO2) ALARM. Carbon Monoxide Alarms should be placed in hallways throughout the home. They should also be placed in recreational vehicles and on boats.

 

Fire ExtinguishersOn the Third Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you install a FIRE EXTINGUISHER. Install A-B-C type Fire Extinguishers in the home and teach all household members how to use them.

 

Fire Escape LadderOn the Fourth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you install a FIRE ESCAPE LADDER. Homes with more than one floor should have at least one Fire Escape Ladder stored on all floors, other than ground level. Store these ladders where they are easily accessible.

 

Disaster Supplies KitOn the Fifth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you assemble a FAMILY DISASTER SUPPLIES KIT. A family will cope best by preparing for a disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling a Family Disaster Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won’t have time to shop and search for supplies.

Pet Supplies KitOn the Sixth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you assemble a PET SUPPLIES KIT. Pets enrich the lives of individuals and families in more ways than you can count. In turn they depend on people for their safety and well-being. Having a Pet Disaster Supplies Kit is one of the best ways to care for pets when disaster strikes.

NWSOn the Seventh Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you acquire a WEATHER RADIO. As the voice of the National Weather Service, a Weather Radio provides continuous broadcasts of the latest weather information directly from a National Weather Service Forecast Office. During severe weather routine broadcasting is interrupted and special watch and warning messages are issued.

First AidOn the Eighth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you get a FIRST AID KIT. Because the first five minutes of a medical emergency are critical, every individual and family should have First Aid Kits in their home and vehicles (including boats).

 

CPROn the Ninth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you attend FIRST AID AND CPR TRAINING. For more than a century, the Red Cross has been saving lives with Health and Safety Services education programs. A unique idea for a Christmas stocking would be a Gift Certificate for a First Aid and CPR Training course.

House Numbers aOn the Tenth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you purchase HOUSE NUMBERS. Each home should have its number posted clearly on the front door, over the doorway, or elsewhere on the front so emergency responders can easily locate it. Lives and property can be saved simply by using adequate house numbers placed where emergency workers can find them. You can purchase numbers at your local hardware store.

Flash LightOn the Eleventh Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you purchase a FLASHLIGHT. As simple as a Flashlight is, it can become a very important tool to use during and after a disaster. Every family disaster supplies kit should contain a flashlight and spare batteries.

PhoneOn the Twelfth Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you create an EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION PLAN. Each home should have a list of Emergency Phone Numbers posted near the phone or in the front of a phone book. 

 

For additional information on these and other safety tips visit:

http://www.redcross.org/news/article/7-fire-safety-tips-for-holiday-decorating-and-entertaining

 

Operation Save-a-Life installs the 150,000th Smoke Alarm in Cleveland

It began in 1992, when five children died in a home fire. For Cleveland businessman, Sam Miller, those deaths were a wake-up call for change. The city had been experiencing 30-40 fire-related deaths each year.

That morning he called city leaders and the American Red Cross and soon the structure of Operation Save-a-Life began to take shape.

On December 19, 2014 the 150,000th smoke alarm was installed in the Erickson’s home on the west side of Cleveland.

“It is appropriate that this the home of five beautiful children,” said Sam Miller, who was in attendance at the installation, “as it was five deaths that were the catalyst for the creation of this life-saving program.”

Smoke alarms are integral in decreasing fire-related deaths. Experts agree that a family may have as few as two minutes to exit a burning home. Without the warning of a smoke alarm, the odds of getting out are severely lessened. To learn more about fire safety for your home, visit redcross.org.

In part to the efforts of Operation Save-a-Life, Cleveland has seen a continual drop in fire fatalities, which are at the lowest level in the past 100 years. So far, in 2014, there have been three.

“This program is one of our proudest achievements,” said Mary-Alice Frank, CEO for the Northeast Ohio Region, said to those gathered at the installation. Leaning down and handing the ceremonial gold smoke alarm to one of the Erickson children, she added, “May you know the sound that this alarm makes, but never have to hear it in an emergency.”

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Operation Save-A-Life is currently available to residents in Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Euclid, and South Euclid. The alarms are free, which is made possible through the donations of community members and local businesses, and are installed by the Cleveland Fire Department. Interested community members are encouraged to call their city’s contact number for further information:

Cleveland – (216) 361-5535

Cleveland Heights – (216) 291-2291

Euclid – (216) 289-8425

South Euclid – (216) 691-4273

For more details contact John Gareis at john.gareis@redcross.org