American Red Cross volunteers, joined by community leaders and organizations, are going door-to-door in the Roseland neighborhood on the city’s South Side this weekend to install 500 free smoke alarms in homes and educate residents about fire safety. Teams will meet Saturday, Sept. 19 at 9:00 a.m. at the Bread of Life Church of God in Christ, 10237 S. State Street.
Joining the Red Cross for the large community rally are 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale, 34th Ward Alderman Carrie Austin, in addition to other community groups and partners.
“The Roseland community is one of the highest home fire response areas where volunteers are called to help in the city of Chicago,” said Harley Jones, Regional Disaster Officer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “Two simple steps can save lives: installing or checking you have a working smoke alarm and practicing fire drills. Our aim to arm as many families as possible with these safety measures to help prevent another tragedy.”
Across the 21-county region the Red Cross serves in Northern Illinois, volunteers assist families affected by 3 to 4 home fires every day. Since Sept. 1, the Red Cross responded to more than 30 fires that affected 120 people. Last month, more than 450 local people were impacted or displaced by 100 fires. After a fire, the Red Cross provides assistance with food, shelter, clothing, and emotional support.
Home fires tend to increase in the fall and winter, which is why Jones said the Red Cross is making a big push now to be prepared for the months ahead.
“Home fires are tragic and devastating to those who experience them,” said Jones. “The Red Cross is committed to mobilizing volunteers and local partners to help people protect and prepare both their families and communities.”
The Red Cross and its partners have saved 15 lives and installed more than 100,000 smoke alarms in homes across the country during the last 10 months. This accomplishment is part of a nationwide Home Fire Campaign launched last October to reduce the number of people who die or are injured during a fire in their home. Locally, the Red Cross will install more than 5,500 smoke alarms in Chicago and communities across Northern Illinois in the coming months. Residents who would like a free smoke alarm installed by trained Red Cross volunteers can call 312-792-6220.
The campaign is a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Working with fire departments and community groups across the country, the Red Cross is installing smoke alarms in homes in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching residents about fire prevention and preparedness.
“The smoke alarms we’re installing will help protect families every day for years to come, thanks to the dedication of local volunteers and partners going door-to-door to spread preparedness information in our communities,” said Jones.
The Home Fire Campaign is powered by more than 1,800 local community partners and more than 40 national partner organizations. Key supporters include: International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC); Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA); United States Fire Administration (USFA); Rebuilding Together; Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation; Meals on Wheels America; Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS); National Council on Independent Living (NCIL); Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA); Vision 20/20; Project Paradigm; Hope worldwide; Habitat for Humanity; Portlight Strategies, Inc.; and Lott Carey.
WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO The Red Cross asks everyone to take two simple steps to help prevent injury and death during a fire in their home – check their smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home. Every household should develop a fire escape plan and practice it several times a year and at different times of the day. The plan should include two ways to get out of every room and a place to meet outside. Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas or homes on the second floor or above.
People should also install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. The alarms should be tested every month and the batteries replaced at least once a year.
People can visit redcross.org to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire or contact their local Red Cross to learn about the location of local smoke alarm installation events. They can also help by volunteering their time or making a donation today to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 70,000 other disasters every year, from home fires to hurricanes and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.
About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties in Northern Illinois including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. 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 us at redcross.org/il/chicago or visit us on Twitter at @ChicagoRedCross.