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Sound the Alarm: Red Cross Issues #WakeUpChallenge


Did you know that 31 percent of home fire victims don’t ever wake up when a fire has started in their home? To bring attention to this disturbing fact and the importance of smoke alarms, the American Red Cross is issuing the #WakeUpChallenge.

#WakeUpChallenge The Red Cross is challenging the public to literally wake up a friend or family member in the most creatively alarming (yet safe) way possible, film it and post it to their social channels using the #WakeUpChallenge hashtag. With each posting, that person will then challenge others in their network to become a smoke alarm for someone else.

To expand the reach of the #WakeUpChallenge, the Red Cross is partnering with “ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!” The May 2 show featured a montage of staffers waking up partners and roommates with a final clip of resident prankster Cousin Sal waking up his wife.

“Home fires are the most common and deadly disaster in the U.S., yet many people think it will never happen to them,” said Neal Litvack, chief marketing officer for the Red Cross. “We want to wake people up to the prevalence of home fires and the importance of smoke alarms. Teaming up with (advertising agency) Arnold and ‘ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ will help us raise awareness of this serious issue in a creative and approachable way. The #WakeUpChallenge will help us wake up Americans, like a smoke alarm would, to ultimately save lives and educate people on how to help keep their families safe.”

Learn more about the cause at

SOUND THE ALARM In addition to the #WakeUpChallenge, the American Red Cross will Sound the Alarm against home fires, installing 100,000 free smoke alarms in just 16 days in communities at high risk for fires. From April 28 to May 13, thousands of Red Cross volunteers and partners are canvassing high-risk neighborhoods to install free smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms, and help families create escape plans.

These smoke alarm installation events are part of the multi-year Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, launched in 2014 to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries in this country. The campaign is making a difference. As of March 31, 2018:

  • The Home Fire Campaign is credited with helping to save 416 lives.
  • Red Cross volunteers and 4,400 campaign partners have installed more than 1.2 million smoke alarms.
  • 1.3 million people have been served through visits to more than a half-million homes.
  • More than a million children have been reached through specially targeted programs.
  • Join the Red Cross and fight against home fires today by volunteering to install smoke alarms in your community, making a financial contribution at, or taking two easy steps to help save lives – practicing fire drills at home and checking your smoke alarms every month. Together, we can Sound the Alarm about fire safety and help save lives. Learn more at

    This work is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from national partners: Almost Family, Delta Air Lines and International Paper. The Red Cross has also received funding from FEMA through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

    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.