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Bell Gardens and Red Cross Tackle Home Fire Prevention

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"We are grateful to our loyal volunteers... who gave up part of their weekend to help save lives."

After a week of major international and national disasters, including earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador and massive flooding in Houston, volunteers went door-to-door on April 23 to prepare Bell Gardens residents for one of the most common disasters in Southern California – home fires. 

In partnership with the Bell Gardens Police Department, 36 Red Cross teams of bilingual volunteers visited more than 200 homes in the area surrounding Bell Gardens Intermediate School and installed 569 free smoke alarms. Residents also received disaster preparedness education and assistance in making family emergency plans. This joint effort is part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness campaign designed to reduce the number of home fire fatalities and injuries in the most vulnerable neighborhoods of the L.A. Region. 

“Smoke detectors are not a luxury but a vital necessity in the area of disaster preparedness and prevention,” said Margaret Arbini-Madonna, executive director, American Red Cross of Greater Long Beach and Rio Hondo. “The goal of the campaign is to reduce the number of fire related injuries and deaths by 25 percent in the next five years.” She added, “We are grateful to our loyal volunteers and dedicated staff who, along with our community partners, gave up part of their weekend to help save lives!” 

In light of the recent earthquakes, Red Cross teams also provided residents with earthquake prevention and response tips, which can be found at A special thank-you to the Bell Gardens Police Explorers and longtime supporters State Farm, whose employees helped install alarms, and Edison International. Both companies are committed to helping the American Red Cross prepare families and save lives through the Red Cross PrepareSoCal campaign. 

See more photos by Mimi Teller Rosicky.