OKC Volunteers to Canvass Neighborboods for MLK Day of Service

January 17, 2013 — Oklahoma City — The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized the power of volunteer service to strengthen communities and achieve common goals. “Everyone can be great because anyone can serve,” declared Dr. King.

During the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and throughout the weekend, American Red Cross, HOPE Worldwide volunteers, the Oklahoma City Fire Department, Dell and other sponsors will be serving the Oklahoma community by providing fire safety and prevention information to Oklahoma City residents, and reminding residents that home fires are one disaster that can be prevented. Since December, at least 10 Oklahomans have lost their lives due to home fires.

“With the amount of fires the American Red Cross responds to, reaching out into the communities to directly show them how we can avoid potential dangers and encourage better fire safety is a great way to save lives,” said Janienne Bella, Regional Chief Executive for the American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma.

On January 19, canvassers will be talking with people who are at home about ways to heat and cook safely, the value of smoke alarms and the need to create and practice a household fire escape plan. Fire safety and prevention door hangers in English and in Spanish will be provided to all homes the volunteers visit, and left for neighbors who are not at home. The following areas will be canvassed:

#1: The Flats

General Pershing Blvd. (North Boundary)

Penn. Ave. (East Boundary)

Reno Ave. (South Boundary)

Villa Ave/Agnew (West Boundary)

#2: SW 8th St. (North Boundary)

May Ave (East Boundary)

SW 15th St. (South Boundary)

S. Drexel Blvd (West Boundary)

#3: SW 15th St. (North Boundary)

Grand Blvd. (East Boundary)

SW 29th St. (South Boundary)

S. Portland Ave. (West Boundary)

It makes sense to encourage people to take the simple steps necessary to protect their families and homes from fire during the King Day of Service. Fires can affect anyone, regardless of their background or geographic location. And what’s more, when people learn how to prevent and stay safe in a home fire they can protect their home and loved ones and strengthen their community.

Additional recommendations include:

• Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.

• Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.

• Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year.

• Follow your escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

• Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.

This year, fire safety education is especially important, because in a recent national survey about half of those surveyed plan to use alternative sources of heat to reduce their bills this winter. The increased use of portable space heaters, stoves, ovens and fireplaces may lead to additional home fires, above the 465 single-family house fires, 37 apartment or other multi-family fires and 93 mass care situations to which the Central and Western Oklahoma Red Cross responds to every year.

The Central and Western Oklahoma Red Cross also offers presentations about fire safety and other disaster preparedness training. Contact (405) 228-9500 for more information. Lifesaving fire safety and prevention information is available on the Preparedness pages of the American Red Cross public Web site, www.redcross.org.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more 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. To learn more go online to www.okc.redcross.org.

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