About 30 volunteers with the American Red Cross spent this past weekend making local neighborhoods safer by promoting fire safety and prevention. *Photo attached.
As part of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day service project, they visited about 300 homes in neighborhoods near Tesson Ferry Road and Musick Avenue, and Buckley Road and Woodward Drive, in South St. Louis County. In these areas in the last year, fires claimed five lives.
With support from the Mehlville Fire Protection District, volunteers encouraged residents to take a preparedness action by testing their smoke alarms, as working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in home fires by half. They also discussed the importance of creating an escape plan in case of fire, and establishing a meeting place.
“The discussion of the importance of smoke alarms turned up a potentially deadly discovery in several households that day – many of them did not have working smoke alarms,” said Natalie Gemberling, an AmeriCorps National Preparedness and Response Corps member with the Red Cross, who organized the canvassing event. “The volunteers felt like they really made a difference that day.”
Volunteers also handed out door hangers with fire prevention information in English and Spanish. It is part of the Red Cross mission to work to prevent these potentially deadly disasters, but it’s something that still occurs in the St. Louis area too often. St. Louis American Red Cross volunteers respond to an average of three fires a day, or more than 1,000 a year.
The Red Cross is part of the “All Ready” campaign, a unified effort among emergency preparedness experts in the bi-state region that focuses on the importance of individual preparedness. The campaign encourages the three critical steps of preparedness: Make a plan, Get a kit, Be informed.
The American Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region is a proud member agency of the United Way, which makes significant investments every year in Red Cross services.