POMONA, CA, April 30, 2019 — In an effort to reduce home fire deaths and injuries, volunteers and staff with the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region installed 1,022 free smoke alarms and educated 1,413 Pomona residents on home fire prevention and safety this past Saturday at its Sound the Alarm event. In partnership with the city’s 13th Annual Pomona Beautification Day, the Sound the Alarm event is part of a national campaign to install 100,000 alarms in at-risk communities.
SEE: Photos from the Red Cross Sound the Alarm event in Pomona (Flickr)
Home fires are responsible for more fatalities in the U.S. than all other natural disasters combined in a typical year, killing an average of seven people every day. Most of these deaths occur in homes lacking working smoke alarms.
“When most people hear the word ‘disaster,’ they picture whole towns destroyed by tornadoes or floods. Single-home fires can seem insignificant in comparison,” said Erica Frausto-Aguado, Executive Director of the San Gabriel-Pomona Valley Chapter of the Red Cross. “But for those affected, the end-result is just as devastating. That is why it is so important to prepare for all disasters, big and small.”
Yet, as one installer team saw firsthand, many Americans remain woefully underprepared when it comes to home fire safety. During one of the day’s 335 home visits, volunteers encountered a smoke alarm that was more than 40 years old – well past the 10-year lifespan of the free replacement.
Although the event was primarily aimed at fire safety, the humanitarian organization also honored three Pomona residents with the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit for using their Red Cross training to help save a family member’s life following a Thanksgiving cardiac emergency.
“Every death by disaster is a tragedy in its own right, but home fire fatalities are particularly heartbreaking for the simple fact that so many might have been avoided with a few simple precautions,” said Red Cross Los Angeles CEO Jarrett Barrios. “With functional alarms and regular testing, ending home fire deaths is within our grasp.
Saturday’s event kicked off the four-week initiative in Los Angeles, which continues the following Saturdays in Panorama City (May 4th), Long Beach (May 11th) and East LA (May 18th).
People interested in helping can register now at SoundtheAlarm.org to volunteer and raise funds for lifesaving services.
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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA or @CruzRojaLA.