Red Cross Volunteers Install 179 Smoke Alarms in Strafford County Homes
April 15, 2023
On April 15th, 62 American Red Cross of Northern New England volunteers installed 179 free smoke alarms for families during a Sound the Alarm home fire safety event throughout Rochester, Farmington, Somersworth and Barrington, New Hampshire.
“The Red Cross has responded to two home fires in Rochester just this week. Smoke alarms provide critical early warning that will save lives,” said Stephanie Couturier, Red Cross of Northern New England Regional Chief Executive Officer. “Today our volunteers are giving these individuals and families the tools and resources to prepare them for an emergency – and ultimately keep this community safer.”
“We use the American Red Cross weekly. Every time we have a fire in this city, we reach out to them on behalf of our home fire victims. In many cases, these families have lost everything,” Chief Dennis Dube, Rochester Fire Department. “Smoke alarms undoubtedly saves lives."
The Red Cross is grateful to the City of Rochester and the Rochester Fire Department for their support and work to highlight the areas of greatest need. Saturday's mass installation event served 106 local residents in 48 homes.
Robyn Olivares made an appointment for her father after his Meals on Wheels driver dropped off a flyer about the Red Cross program. Armando Olivares, of Rochester, is 93 and lives alone. When volunteers arrived they discovered his home had four smoke alarms, but only one was working. The team removed his old alarms and installed five new units on every level of his home – and in all sleeping areas. They then shared home fire safety information on the causes of fires, prevention, what to do if a fire starts and how to create an escape plan.
“I’m very grateful. It gives me peace of mind. My dad is elderly. He’s 93 and it’s comforting to know that we are doing everything we can to keep him safe. I think it’s a great program that everyone should take advantage of,” said Robyn Olivares.
Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster, claiming seven lives (mostly children and the elderly) every day across the country – and injuring more than 30. But working smoke alarms can cut that risk of dying in a home fire by half. Here in New Hampshire, the Red Cross responded to 145 home fires in 2022, assisting 628 Granite Staters. So far this year, the Red Cross has provided critical support to 198 Granite Staters following 53 home fires – six of those were right here in Rochester, including two earlier this week on Pine Street and Paradise Drive.
ThisSound the Alarm event is a critical part of the national Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, which has helped save at least 1,664 lives — including three in New Hampshire (all in Rochester) — since launching in October 2014. Locally during this time, the Red Cross of Northern New England and regional partners have installed more than 9,075 free smoke alarms in New Hampshire and made more than 3,297 households safer across the state.
Visit redcross.org/EndHomeFiresNNE to learn more, sign-up for your free smoke alarm(s) or make a donation to the Red Cross to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from home fires.
This work is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from regional partner