Red Cross Partners With Sioux Falls Fire Rescue On Pilot Project

Volunteers

Photos Courtesy of the Argus Leader Newspaper

"We started having some community conversations about how we were going to protect our communities and prepare them in a way that is going to make an impact." -Red Cross Community Chapter Exective, Tony Burke.

On Saturday morning, beginning at 8:30 am, volunteers from across the community made a measurable impact by rolling out a Community Resiliency Pilot Project called

“Growing Resilient–Sioux Falls”. After two recent fatal fires in Sioux Falls, where there were no working smoke

alarms, it was decided it was time to take action by convening community discussions.

"We started having some community conversations about how we were going to protect our communities and prepare them in a way that is going to make an impact," said Red Cross Community Chapter Executive, Tony Burke. "This initiative took a lot of effort from several partner organizations."

The Red Cross partnered with the City of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, City of Sioux Falls Public Health, corporate and community leaders to do a one day Community Resiliency Pilot Project blitz of the Whittier Neighborhood which is made up of 1,500 homes.

"I don't think we have any smoke alarms in here," said one resident in the neighborhood that was canvassed. "

The overarching goal of the day was to build community resiliency through discussion with families in their homes; installing the latest technology in smoke alarms which provide 10 years of protection without changing batteries. By having fire fighters installing these alarms, it gave Red Cross volunteers the opportunity to educate and empower citizens to prepare for many types of disasters like winter weather, tornadoes, and flooding.

In discussions with community stakeholders, the Red Cross has learned that we are known for being there in times of large scale disasters.

Out of the 70,000 disaster calls the Red Cross responds to across the nation annually, however, 65,000 of those disasters are related to fire, the “silent disaster.” NFPA states in 62% of home fire deaths there was no working smoke alarm in the house. 75% of fires are preventable.