American Red Cross volunteers fanned out around Greater Portland on a recent weekend to install free smoke alarms, help people create escape plans and prepare in other ways for home fires.
The teams installed 60 smoke alarms for 15 families in Old Orchard Beach, Portland, Saco, Scarborough, South Portland and Westbrook. It was just the latest of the many installation events carried out by the Red Cross and its community partners.
“Smoke alarms save lives. When a home fire breaks out, you have only about two minutes to escape. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of death in half and having an escape plan further improves the odds,” said Ron Springel, the Home Fire Campaign lead for the American Red Cross of Maine. “These volunteers are making families across Maine safer.”
Home fires account for the vast majority of the 64,000 disasters the Red Cross responds to each year in the United States. On average, seven people are killed and 36 are injured by home fires each day.
In 2014, the Red Cross launched its Home Fire Campaign with the goal of reducing home fire deaths and injuries by a quarter by 2020.
Across the county, these efforts have saved at least 258 lives and resulted in the installation of 888,823 free smoke alarms. Here in Maine, the Red Cross and its partners have installed more than 8,000 free smoke alarms, making more than 2,000 families safer.
A key component of the Campaign is Sound the Alarm, Save a Life. This series of smoke alarm installation and home fire safety events takes place this fall in every state. Between September 23 and October 14, teams will install 100,000 additional smoke alarms, culminating in the installation of the 1 millionth smoke alarm.
Sound the Alarm in Maine will feature events in Houlton, Ellsworth, Skowhegan, Wiscasset and Westbrook. For more information, including how to sign up for smoke alarms and how to volunteer, go to soundthealarm.org.