Every year, nearly 2,500 people die and 13,000 people are injured in home fires. Many of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented if these people were armed with the proper tools and education. On Saturday, September 20, 2014, American Red Cross serving Greater Iowa volunteers will join firefighters in Nevada, Iowa to help residents take the number one lifesaving step to protect their homes and loved ones.
Volunteers will canvass Nevada neighborhoods determined to be high-risk for fire, and will test smoke alarms and install new batteries or new smoke alarms as needed. Volunteers will also provide preparedness information about home fires and severe weather to homeowners and renters. Installed smoke alarms are free to residents in the canvass area. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases the chances of surviving a deadly home fire.
At 8:00 Saturday morning, volunteers will begin to gather at Gates Memorial Hall (825 15th Street) in Nevada for registration and training. Teams will begin canvasing neighborhoods around 10:00 a.m. and should visit all the homes in the targeted area by 2:00 p.m. The Red Cross serving Greater Iowa is grateful to have partners like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are also participating in this potentially lifesaving project.
Every nine minutes the Red Cross is called to respond to a home fire. The Red Cross in Iowa is committed to making our communities more fire safe and is working with the Iowa State Fire Marshal and fire departments across the state to continue that mission. Recent smoke alarm installation projects include:
- On December 15, 2012, more than 80 volunteers from across Iowa installed smoke alarms throughout the town of Lake City following the deaths of three children and an adult in a November fire. A year later, a family of six was saved when a smoke alarm installed by firefighters and Red Cross volunteers alerted them to a fire.
- On September 11, 2013, volunteers with the Red Cross, the United Way of Wapello County, Ottumwa Fire Department and Wapello County Rural Fire installed 221 smoke alarms and provided disaster preparedness information to more than 500 homes.
- On October 12, 2013, 475 volunteers with the Red Cross and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints partnered with the Des Moines Fire Department and canvassed the Highland Park neighborhood. Volunteers knocked on nearly 3,000 doors and installed more than 2,100 smoke alarms in one day! The Des Moines fire department continues that effort each and every day.
- On May 7, 2014, Red Cross volunteers, Newton High School students and Newton firefighters canvassed “high risk” neighborhoods as part of “Newton Red Pride Day. “ Volunteers knocked on 212 doors, and installed new smoke alarms or replaced batteries in more than 80 homes.
- On July 19, 2014, Volunteers with Red Cross, Arlington Fire and EMS, Fayette County Sheriff’s Department and Fayette County Emergency Management installed 43 new smoke alarms and provided disaster preparedness information to more than 150 homes in Arlington in northeast Iowa. On January 24, 2014, a house fire killed five people (three adults and two children) in a home about four miles southwest of Arlington.