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Volunteers Team Up for Fire Safety in Fort Plain

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"Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a fire in half."

Volunteers from the American Red Cross, the Fort Plain Fire Department, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians Boots on the Ground (BOG) Unit braved freezing temperatures on Saturday, January 31, to help Fort Plain residents prepare for home fires. Together, teams of volunteers from each organization visited more than a dozen homes in the village, sharing fire safety information and installing new smoke alarms to help prevent home fire deaths and injuries.

Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a fire in half. As part of its ongoing Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, the Red Cross is asking every household in America to take two simple steps that can save lives: checking or installing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home. On Saturday, Fort Plain families had the chance to take these steps with the guidance and support of trained volunteers from the Red Cross, the fire department, and the BOG unit.

Photos from the day can be viewed now on Flickr. Pictured are several volunteers from each partner group, working together to install smoke alarms, check batteries, and go over fire escape plans and important fire safety tips with local residents.

The Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign originally launched in October 2014 to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires across the country by as much as 25 percent over the next five years. Since then, the Red Cross and numerous partners in the Eastern New York Region have been actively promoting fire safety and installing smoke alarms in communities including Schenectady, Amsterdam, Poughkeepsie, and now, Fort Plain.

Saturday’s event began with another flurry of volunteer activity earlier this month. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Red Cross volunteers teamed up with the Fort Plain Fire Department to distribute more than 200 flyers and door-hangers containing fire safety tips and information on how to have free smoke alarms installed. Local firefighters have been instrumental in identifying households who might need assistance from the Red Cross, and they will continue to help ensure that smoke alarms are installed and working properly in homes throughout the village.

“We’re fortunate to have such strong support for this campaign from the disaster response community in Fort Plain,” said Burgundy Magoon, American Red Cross Preparedness Specialist. “Knowing the devastation that people faced here after the flood of 2013, we want to do whatever we can to help local families prepare for common emergencies, and our partnerships with the fire department and the Hibernians are helping us do that.”

Home fires make up the vast majority of all Red Cross disaster responses in the Eastern New York Region. In 2014, the Red Cross responded to more than 650 home fires across a 24-county service area, providing more than 1,900 local fire victims with assistance including temporary shelter, food, clothing and comfort.

The Red Cross will continue to roll out the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign in communities across the Eastern New York Region in the coming year. Magoon and her team of volunteer partners are aiming to install at least 1,000 new smoke alarms in the region by June 30. To learn more about home fire preparedness, or to get your community involved in the campaign, email or call (518) 694-5117.