Click here to read the article that originally appeared on Make it Better.
In December 2016, a Chicago resident and her adult grandson were asleep in their second floor apartment. A loud booming noise from the lower level woke them up in the middle of the night. The grandmother opened her apartment door and found the hallway fully engulfed in smoke. “I remember the smoke alarms going off,” she told the Red Cross during a check-in call after the fire. Her grandson ran down the front stairway to help the neighbors. Despite health issues, the grandmother knew she had to urgently get out of the building and managed to escape on her own out the back of the complex with her cat under her arm. Everyone in the building was able to escape unharmed. The Red Cross provided her and her grandson with assistance to stay in a hotel after the fire, where she stayed for about 12 days until they moved in with her sister.
The resident recalled the April 2016 day when the Red Cross installed three smoke alarms in her home. The volunteers helped her create a home fire escape plan and left a dry erase board and pen with her to hang on her refrigerator.
Every day, seven people die in home fires, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately lose their lives. That’s why the Red Cross rallied an army of volunteers and launched our Home Fire Campaign in 2014. This fall, Red Cross volunteers and our partners will install 100,000 free smoke alarms in high risk neighborhoods nationwide.
Sound the Alarm installation and fire safety events will take place in more than 100 communities across the country, providing a lifesaving service in our quest to reduce death and injury from home fires. Thank you to our local partners, the Chicago Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), for making this campaign possible in Chicago and northern Illinois. Learn more about Sound the Alarm.
There are several ways you can get involved with Sound the Alarm!
Volunteer to help Sound the Alarm. Save a Life.
- Visit SoundTheAlarm.org to find events in your local community and join neighbors in going door-to-door to install free smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms, and help families create escape plans.
- Make this life-saving campaign a group activity. Invite friends and family to register.
Donate to help Sound the Alarm. Save a Life.
- Visit SoundTheAlarm.org to help families prepare, respond and recover from home fires.
- Your donation will help educate families on fire safety; install free smoke alarms in high-risk neighborhoods nationwide; and provide food, comfort and aid to those who have been affected by a home fire.
Together, we can Sound the Alarm about fire safety and help save lives.