Newly installed smoke alarms alert Port Richey men to fire
PASCO COUNTY, FLORIDA – APRIL 11, 2019 – On Saturday, February 23, volunteers from the Mid-Florida Chapter of the America Red Cross and City of Port Richey Fire Department met at a local mobile home park for a home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event called Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. Less than 14 hours later, that’s exactly what happened -- two lives were saved when one of the mobile homes caught fire.
In the early morning hours of February 24, a newly installed smoke alarm sounded, alerting a 47-year-old resident to a fire. In turn, he woke up the homeowner who had fallen asleep on the couch watching television, and the two men and their dog were able to escape unharmed.
The homeowner* recalls, “When he woke me up, I was stunned.” He credits the newly installed smoke alarms as the reason the men survived. “They did save our lives,” he said.
In the hours and days after the fire, the Red Cross helped in additional ways. Disaster action team volunteers were at the scene to provide financial assistance for immediate needs and lodging, and a volunteer caseworker followed up to help navigate next steps for recovery.
Paul Johnston, a disaster program manager for the Mid-Florida Chapter of the Red Cross, applauded the result of a successful collaboration. “Community preparedness requires many stakeholders,” he said. “Working with local fire departments and community partners, we have strategically planned local events to target neighborhoods at high-risk of home fires to increase the odds of lives saved by this program.” He added, “In this instance, Port Richey Fire Department selected the community and assisted with installation that day. The end result was two lives saved."
RED CROSS HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster and take an average of seven lives every day in the United States. Sound the Alarm events are part of the Campaign, launched in 2014 to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires. So far, the Campaign has reached more than 1.7 million people and saved at least 552 lives nationwide.
HELP SOUND THE ALARM TO #ENDHOMEFIRES Over a two-week period, April 27-May 12, volunteers are needed to work alongside fire departments and community partners to install 100,000 free smoke alarms nationwide and educate families about fire prevention and safety. In Central Florida, the Red Cross has eight events during this time across six counties. Event registration is open for individuals and groups to volunteer at www.SoundTheAlarm.org.
The Mid-Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross serves Polk, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Sumter and Lake Counties. The Chapter is one of five that comprise the Central Florida Region of the American Red Cross. For more information, visit redcross.org/centralflorida. Also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
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 @RedCross.
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* The case above represents the 2nd and 3rd documented lives saved in Central Florida because of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign. The residents chose to share their story to help others, but requested their names not be used. The Red Cross honors privacy requests and will not publish this information.