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Reducing Fire Deaths, One Home at a Time

2014-10-17 - Los Angeles - Reducing Fire Deaths, One Home at a Time
The simple fact is that smoke alarms save lives, so getting these devices into the community will have a positive impact in our neighborhoods.

On October 11, 150 Red Cross Los Angeles Region Home Fire Preparedness Campaign Coalition participants conducted door-to-door canvassing of single family residential structures in the Vermont Harbor Red Cross Los Angeles Region Home Fire Preparedness Campaign Coalition section of Los Angeles. They installed 180 smoke alarms in homes, tested existing smoke alarms and replaced batteries as necessary, performed free fire preparedness home safety-checks and developed fire safety plans with residents.

This L.A. fire prevention effort is part of a national American Red Cross campaign launched in October to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.

Red Cross volunteers and AmeriCorps members, as well as volunteers from a number of community partners joined together to effectively canvass the neighborhoods. Local partners include MySafe: LA, the National Fire Protection Association, Hope Worldwide, C.E.R.T. the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Fire Department. Collaboration with organizations such as these to canvass at-risk communities to check for working smoke alarms and distribute fire and home-safety information is an important part of making Los Angeles safer in an effort to reduce deaths and injuries in residential structure fires.

“The LAFD is proud to partner with the American Red Cross and MySafe:LA in this crucial public education effort," said Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas. "The simple fact is that smoke alarms save lives, so getting these devices into the community, along with fire and home safety literature, will have a positive impact in our neighborhoods."

David Barrett, Executive Director of MySafe:LA, said, “Today’s activities demonstrate that public/private partnerships can work. And, when an organization like the Red Cross partners with The Los Angeles Fire Department and MySafe:LA, our abilities to get working smoke alarms into homes of people who need them clearly helps prevent injuries and needless deaths from fire. "

Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Red Cross, Jarrett Barrios, couldn’t agree more. “You take 150 people, with one common goal, and the result is that more than 200 people will now be given the chance to prevent a home fire. Installing smoke alarms cuts the risk of someone dying from a home fire in half, so by joining with groups from across our community to install smoke alarms and also teach people how to be safe from home fire, we know we are making a difference.”

Photos by: Victor Picena

Preview photo: Myonoway Toles, Preparedness and Resiliency Coordinator for the Red Cross Americorps team, works with a local resident to help fill out a home fire preparedness survey.

Main photo: Red Cross Los Angeles Region Home Fire Preparedness Campaign Coalition participants get ready to canvass a neighborhood on Oct. 11.