By Amy De La Fuente, American Red Cross volunteer
What do volunteers and superheroes have in common? The volunteers that attended the leap day Sound the Alarm event in Irvine proved to be true superheroes when they volunteered to use their unique skill set to install 190 free smoke alarms. In addition to installing these smoke alarms, the volunteers from all over Orange County teamed up with the American Red Cross and the Orange County Fire Authority to spend their Saturday morning teaching residents fire and earthquake safety tips that make a difference when disaster strikes.
One organization that was highly motivated to get started was a team from the Local 714 Carpenters Union. Dennis Gray said he and his team are repeat Sound the Alarm volunteers and that events like these "provide an opportunity to be a mentor… to show volunteers how to use tools the right way.” With the carpenters volunteering on different teams in the area, many of the younger volunteers had ample time to see a professional in their natural habitat. As one volunteer said, “The carpenters make it look so easy!”
In the case of local resident and proud veteran John, the free smoke alarm installation service provided by this program can best be described as “impressive.” John describes opening the door to the call of Red Cross volunteers offering free smoke alarms and allowing them to check his current alarms. They installed a total of two brand new smoke alarms! After volunteers removed one of his old smoke alarms, John was surprised to see that it had expired years ago! John had recently experienced a small kitchen fire, where his partner was awoken by the smoke. Now, with their new smoke alarms and fire safety education, they are even better prepared to prevent and respond to home fires.
Prior to the start of the event, Orange County Fire Chief Sherwood told the volunteers that although they might not hear or see the direct impact that their actions had, they were indeed saving a life through this lifesaving action. Red Crosser Kim Aufrecht also stepped up to talk with the educators of the teams to remind them of the importance of teaching tenants fire safety tips and the major impact their words could have on saving a life. The proud slogan of these Sound the Alarm events is “Sound the Alarm. Save a Life,” and that could not be truer than on the day that one of these alarms helps give a family the chance to make it out in time.
To learn more or to volunteer for an upcoming event, visit SoundTheAlarm.org/DTS.