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Red Cross & Evanston Firefighters Install Free Smoke Alarms

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The American Red Cross, joined by the Evanston Fire Department, installed more than three dozen free smoke alarms and educated families about fire safety in Evanston neighborhoods on Saturday, Nov. 12. Download photos here

“As the weather turns colder, our number of responses increases as some people may seek alternative sources to heat their homes, which aren’t always safe,” said Celena Roldán, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “That’s why we made a big push over the weekend with the Evanston Fire Department to make sure families are prepared and know what to do in case of emergency to keep loved ones safe.” 

American Red Cross Tiffany Circle members from the Greater Chicago partnered with Evanston firefighters for fire safety event. The Tiffany Circle is a community of women leaders who advance the American Red Cross mission through a focused investment of time, talent and treasure by engaging women locally, nationally and internationally. 

The Evanston installation event is part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, a multi-year, nationwide campaign that kicked off in October 2014 with a goal to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent during the five years of the campaign. Working with fire departments and community groups across the entire country, the Red Cross installs smoke alarms in homes in neighborhoods at high risk for home fires. In the last two years, more than a half million smoke alarms have been installed in homes across the country as part of the Home Fire Campaign. 

Since the launch of the campaign, the Red Cross and its partners have helped to save at least 111 lives and installed more than half a million smoke alarms in 7,000 cities and towns nationwide. 

The Red Cross also teaches people what they can do now to be prepared should a fire break out in their home. Locally, the Red Cross will install more than 6,600 smoke alarms in Chicago and communities across Northern Illinois in the coming months. Across the 21-county region the Red Cross serves in Northern Illinois, volunteers assist families affected by 3 to 4 home fires every day. After a fire, the Red Cross provides assistance with food, shelter, clothing, and emotional support. 

SIMPLE STEPS TO SAVE LIVES As part of the Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross is calling on everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: practice fire drills at home and check their existing smoke alarms. There are several things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire: 

• Create a home fire escape plan that includes at least two ways to escape each room and a meeting spot to reunite after escaping. • Practice the plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes. 

• If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives. 

• If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them. If the alarm is more than 10 years old, replace it. 

RED CROSS APPS People can learn how to help prevent a home fire and what to do if one occurs by downloading the Red Cross Emergency App. Children can have fun and learn how to prevent a home fire and other emergencies in the Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App. The First Aid App provides expert advice including what to do for burns, broken bones and breathing and cardiac emergencies. The apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or at

WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO People can visit to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire, and to learn more about how to become a volunteer. The Home Fire Campaign is made possible through the generosity of hundreds of local partner organizations and volunteers, along with corporate partners Fred Meyer, Kidde, Motorola Solutions Foundation and Nationwide. As of August 31, the Red Cross and 3,600 partners have reached more than 591,000 people through home visits in 7,300 cities and towns all across the country. The Red Cross has also reached more than 581,000 youth through fire safety and preparedness programs. 

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 or visit us on Twitter at @ChicagoRedCross.