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A Lifesaving Weekend in Queens, Westchester County and Long Island

A Lifesaving Weekend in Queens, Westchester County and Long Island.
"The message we are sharing is simple: smoke alarms save lives."

Last Saturday, Red Cross volunteers spanned out across the Greater New York region to spread fire safety awareness and install free smoke detectors as part of the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. Three different installation efforts were completed in Queens, Mount Vernon and Port Washington. The Red Cross partnered with local community groups and leaders to install a nearly 800 free smoke alarms in a few short hours.

As an organization that provides emergency assistance following tens of thousands of home fires every year across the country, the Red Cross knows all too well the devastating impact that these disasters have on our communities. That is why in 2014 the Red Cross launched its Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, a national initiative to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years across the country. The campaign seeks to increase the use of smoke alarms and to encourage all Americans to practice their fire escape plans and be aware of fire risks and hazards.

“The message we are sharing is simple: smoke alarms save lives,” said Josh Lockwood, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross in Greater NY. “Thank you to our dedicated volunteers and to our committed partners who will help make these communities safer.”

During Saturday’s effort in Queens, which was supported by U.S. Representative Grace Meng and New York State Senator Leroy Comrie, nearly 500 free smoke alarms were installed. Meanwhile, with the help of Hope Worldwide, the Red Cross installed more than 100 free smoke alarms in Mount Vernon. In Port Washington, the organization partnered with Port Washington Crisis Relief Team (PWCRT) and Assembly Member Michelle Schimel to install more than 180 free smoke alarms.

“Preventing a crisis by being proactive is an important part of our mission,” PWCRT President Rob Seiden said. “We are proud to be working collaboratively with the Red Cross for the second year in a row to help the residents of Port Washington by helping to reduce the risk of tragedy through the installation of free smoke alarms, as well as inspections and education about fire safety.”

"Smoke alarms save lives. Make sure your smoke alarms are in good working order and you have a fire escape plan,” said Schimel. “On behalf of my district, my thanks to the American Red Cross for this outstanding initiative to reduce fire related deaths and injuries by 25% by the year 2021."

On average, 7 people die from a home fire every day in the U.S.; on average, 36 people suffer injuries from home fires every day in the U.S. The FDNY estimates that up to 70 percent of fire deaths in recent years have occurred in residences where there was no working smoke alarm – either with no alarm present, or missing or dead batteries in a device. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) calculates that nationally, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half when there’s a working smoke alarm present.

Click here to learn more about this lifesaving campaign.

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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossNY.