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Volunteers to honor Dr. King by sharing fire safety tips

This Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, American Red Cross volunteers – with support from the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, Fire Department and State Fire Marshal’s Office – are serving in Gonzales by distributing vital fire safety information to help residents prevent home fires, protect their loved ones and strengthen their community.

The Jan. 20 project, led by volunteer Gwen Hilliard, is focusing on a few older neighborhoods near Gonzales Primary School, recognizing the growth across the parish.

“We respond every day to home fires that disrupt or devastate families,” said Tony Credeur, preparedness manager for the South Louisiana Red Cross. “We know most home fires, unlike other disasters, can be prevented. That’s why we commit to providing information residents need to reduce their risk.”

The Red Cross invites you to join the project, learn more about fire safety and help others as teams walk door-to-door to connect with residents.

“The reason I volunteer is because it gives me an opportunity to change or touch people’s lives, including my own,” said coordinator Hilliard, who lives in Prairieville. “It gives me the satisfaction of playing a role in someone else’s life. Volunteering is a way of giving back to my community.”

Who: Joining the American Red Cross volunteers are members of Volunteer Ascension. Invitations to speak have been issued to State Fire Marshal Butch Browning, State Representatives Johnny Berthelot and Ed Price and Judge Alvin Turner. Among the sponsors are LeBlanc Supermarket of Gonzales, Ascension Paper Product of Gonzales, Christan Amberly, Laruie Bouncing Around (continental breakfast) and the Gonzales Jambalaya Festival (lunch).

What: Volunteers will go door-to-door to discuss fire safety and other emergency preparedness techniques with residents. Volunteers will provide fire safety materials, including information about smoke alarms, creating a household fire escape plan and tips for cooking and heating a home safely. The volunteers will account for residents in need of smoke alarms, and firefighters will return later that week to install them.

When: Monday, January 20, 2013

8 a.m. – noon. Lunch to follow.

Where: Gathering at Gonzales Primary School cafeteria

521 N. Burnside, Gonzales, La., 70737

Why: Home fires are South Louisiana’s most prevalent disaster threat, yet most fires can be prevented. In the 10-parish Capital Area last year, Red Cross volunteers responded to help nearly 400 families after residential fires.

RSVP: Anyone interested in joining the volunteer effort, please RSVP to Barbara Bourgeois at or (225) 456-5555.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at