LOS ANGELES, May 1 — On Saturday, April 29, the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region and SoCalGas installed over 900 free ten-year lithium battery smoke alarms in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacoima. Red Cross staff and volunteers along with trained bilingual local community volunteers went to 231 homes to install the smoke alarms and provided over 1,100 residents with critical home fire prevention and earthquake preparedness information to help get Pacoima better prepared for emergencies.
“Home Fires can be devastating and fatal so we must do all we can to prevent them,” stated Raul Claros, Executive Director American Red Cross Northern Valleys Chapter. “We are recommending two easy steps to help protect their home and increase chances of surviving a fire: have working smoke alarms and create home fire escape plan.”
Seven people die each day in home fires across the United States. That is why the American Red Cross has launched a nationwide Home Fire Campaign, which aims to reduce the number of fire related injuries by 25 percent in the next 3 years. Last year, the Los Angeles region of the Red Cross installed over 8,100 free smoke alarms alone.
"It's not acceptable for anyone to be without a smoke alarm in their home," said Jimmie Cho, Senior Vice President of Gas Operations and System Integrity for SoCalGas. "We're proud to work with the American Red Cross to provide these lifesaving devices and discuss the importance of an emergency evacuation plan with residents of Pacoima."
Education is one of the best ways to help prevent home fires. With the assistance of SoCalGas, as a sponsor of the Home Fire Campaign, along with other partners such as LA County Fire, Red Cross volunteers go door to door to ask residents if they can check their smoke alarms or install new 10-year lithium battery smoke alarms at no cost. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. Working smoke alarms can double someone’s chance of surviving a fire.
The Home Fire Campaign is part of PrepareSoCal which is a multi-region campaign designed to address the needs of individuals and families to prepare for disasters, small and large, and to promote community resiliency within the most vulnerable communities.
Besides SoCalGas, the Red Cross also partnered with the LAFD, LAFD Cadets, James Monroe High School JROTC, the San Fernando Valley LGBT Community Center, and the Pacoima Resilience Coalition.
To learn more about the American Red Cross preparedness tips, visit preparesocal.org.