Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others”? In celebration of the MLK Day of Service, Red Cross volunteers installed 220 lifesaving smoke alarms and provided fire safety education to residents in Hillsboro, Salem and Eugene, Oregon.
As part of pre-event training in Hillsboro on Saturday morning, Red Cross disaster action team member Kathleen Elliott shared her experience responding to a home fire the night before.
“There were no smoke alarms in the home,” she said. “Fortunately, there were no fatalities, but this is not always the case. Fire experts agree working smoke alarms can double the chance of surviving a home fire.”
Another volunteer at the Hillsboro event, Roberta R., signed up because the project resonated with her at a deeply personal level. Four months ago, at 4:30 in the morning, her home caught on fire.
“The only reason my family and I are alive now is because we were woken up by our smoke alarms. They saved our lives,” she said. “I look forward to helping get other families better protection from working alarms.”
In the three cities, volunteers put their skills to work in teams of three to canvass neighborhoods, install a total of 220 smoke alarms and educate residents on disaster preparedness.
In the words of Dr. King, “What are you doing for others?” Start by checking that your own smoke alarms are working. Then, encourage family and friends to do the same. Spread the word that residents throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington can get free smoke alarms in their home by calling (503) 528-5783 or by making an appointment online. Lastly, consider volunteering at an upcoming installation event.
These MLK Day of Service events were part of the Red Cross National Home Fire Preparedness Campaign to reduce death and injury by home fire. Over the past year, the Red Cross has installed more than 2,800 free smoke alarms in homes throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. Nationally, the campaign is credited to saving 39 lives.