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Red Cross Volunteers Install Smoke Alarms on MLK Jr. Weekend

Martin Luther King

American Red Cross volunteers will spend the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend installing smoke alarms and distributing fire safety information to residents in high-risk communities across the country. On average, the Red Cross helps more people after home fires than all other disasters combined.

To help combat this threat, the Red Cross announced a new national campaign this past October to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years. In just the past few months, the Red Cross has already reached more than 36,000 people by installing more than 21,000 smoke alarms.

The Red Cross still needs volunteers for canvassing events such as those listed below, as well as in additional communities across the country. Contact your local chapter to volunteer in your community this MLK Jr. weekend.

San Diego, California

The Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties, along with its partners Burn Institute, the Azalea Park Neighborhood Association, San Diego Canyonlands, the Pop Street Project, and Monroe Clark Middle School, will install smoke alarms and educate residents about fire safety in the City Heights area of San Diego on Monday, January 19.

An ongoing focus for several years, fire safety education will include the need for brush management for homes along the perimeter of the local canyons and the importance of a disaster preparedness plan for each household.

Pensacola, Florida

The Red Cross of Northwest Florida is partnering with a local fire department to install smoke detectors and pass out fire safety information in a high-risk neighborhood on Saturday, January 17 and Monday, January 19. While Florida is already the second most disaster-prone state in the nation, with the recent cold weather, this Red Cross chapter has averaged one home fire response a day just in their community.

Hagerstown, Maryland

In an effort to raise awareness, American Red Cross volunteers will go door to door in a Hagerstown neighborhood on Saturday, January 17 to discuss fire safety and install smoke alarms. Volunteers will join local fire departments and Scout troops as they visit homes in areas where there have been fire fatalities. In addition to installing smoke alarms, volunteers will discuss fire escape plans and talk about emergency preparedness.

"The benefit of having this being volunteer driven is that our volunteers not only learn some ideas for their own families and their own homes, but they also become ambassadors in the community," said Meghan Otto, volunteer specialist for the American Red Cross serving Western Maryland. "They help to spread the mission and help us to pursue the goals of this campaign."

Vermillion, South Dakota

On MLK Jr. Day, the Red Cross Dakotas Region will partner with the University of South Dakota to canvas homes with adults 24 years of age or younger who rent or own homes in Vermillion. Red Cross AmeriCorps members are spearheading this effort while working with Disaster Mental Health volunteers at USD to provide fire safety information for this community.

Dallas, Texas

This weekend, North Texans are celebrating MLK Jr. Day by performing a day of service, educating fellow residents about home fire safety in Irving, Texas on Saturday, January 17. Volunteers will go door to door in neighborhoods distributing fire safety and emergency preparedness materials.

To reach at-risk communities, many chapters used data from local fire departments to identify neighborhoods with high rates of home fires.

Learn more about the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign.

Help Home Fire Survivors

You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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