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Red Cross Creates Partnership with Local Tribes

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A successful, first-of-its-kind partnership between the American Red Cross and local tribes has created the foundation for an ongoing relationship that could save lives.

In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s life and efforts, the American Red Cross celebrated Jan. 18 with a national Day of Service.  In Wyoming, volunteers met with residents at the Wind River Reservation to deliver the Home Fire Campaign, a program that works to reduce deaths and injuries due to home fires by providing smoke alarms and fire safety education to keep families safe.

The event marks the beginning of a special cooperation between the Red Cross and residents of Wind River.

 “This event was the first program that the Red Cross of Wyoming has partnered with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho since the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement with each tribal nation,” Red Cross Disaster Specialist Lucas Murphy said.

Harvey Spoonhunter, chairman for the Northern Arapaho tribal council, and Emergency Response Coordinator for the Department of Homeland Security, said that the event was a success, and that he continues to receive positive feedback from the community.

In preparation for the event, which was the first of its kind on the reservation, Red Cross workers coordinated with Spoonhunter and other representatives of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes to advertise the event.

“When we went into the homes, people were very satisfied,” Spoonhunter said.  

He said that in many of the homes, obsolete alarms were replaced by the Red Cross.  Additionally, families were educated on proper evacuation planning, and safety precautions.

“They were very courteous, and after we finished, felt a lot safer, and protected.”

He added that the tribes plan to host the event in the future to continue fire safety awareness in the area.

The Red Cross and its partners installed a total 82 smoke alarms and tested another 23 existing alarms during the outreach day.

“We helped a total of 68 people make sure that their homes were protected with smoke alarms, and that they were educated on fire escape plans, how to prevent home fires, and wildfire safety,” Murphy said.

Murphy said the event was a success, and future Home Fire Campaigns and other Red Cross programs will benefit the communities of Wind River in the years to come.

“I was honored to work with both tribes, and I look forward towards everything the future holds between the Red Cross and these two tribes.”

For more information about the Home Fire Campaign, visit www.redcross.org/wyoming/firesafety