The American Red Cross is working with FEMA Corps teams and coalition partners across the country to promote home fire safety and provide disaster education in communities most at risk for home fires. The collaboration is one of many between government and nongovernment partners supporting the Home Fire Campaign, an initiative to reduce home fire fatalities in the United States by 25 percent within five years.
The partnership between the Red Cross and FEMA Corps is not new. FEMA Corps – part of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps – has helped Red Cross regions conduct shelter surveys and update information in the National Shelter System database.
DOOR TO DOOR EFFORTS In April, the Red Cross partnered with the city fire department of Washington, Pennsylvania and FEMA Corps to canvass high-risk neighborhoods and distribute fire safety information to 2,000 households, including instructions on how to obtain free smoke alarms. Washington Fire Chief Linn Brookman supports the Home Fire Campaign and would like to see at least one smoke detector in every home. By offering free smoke detectors, the Red Cross and community hope to reach that goal in Washington.
“The teams have been a natural fit for our Home Fire Campaign, helping us increase our bandwidth and connectivity with the community,” said Michael Fawcett, division disaster state relations director at the Red Cross. “They work extremely hard and we’ve been grateful for their support.”
Last fall, the local Red Cross chapter in Washington, D.C. hosted a team of nine FEMA Corps members who distributed nearly 2,000 pieces of disaster preparedness information, supported a large shelter simulation at Red Cross national headquarters, and assisted with planning and outreach activities. During National Fire Prevention Week, FEMA Corps members canvassed neighborhoods helping residents complete home evacuation plans while local fire fighters and Red Cross volunteers installed smoke alarms in homes without working smoke alarms.
With the help of FEMA Corps and partners, the Red Cross has been able to document 13 lives saved through smoke alarm installation and fire safety education. Since October 2014, more than 66,000 smoke alarms have been installed and nearly 37,000 households have become prepared across the country.
Working together, communities across the country are becoming more prepared for any disaster or emergency.
HOW TO HELP You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support the American Red Cross. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or contact your local chapter to make a donation.