On average, the American Red Cross responds to a disaster in the Dakotas Region every 17 hours. Majority of the responses are home fires, which are also the nation’s most common and deadly disaster.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing are particularly vulnerable because they may not be able to hear the sound of a traditional smoke alarm. Delayed notification reduces the chances of getting out of a burning home quickly and safely.
Paige Kabwe is a teenager from Valley City, ND who is deaf. Her mother, Jessica, contacted the Red Cross after learning about Sound the Alarm. Save a Life., part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign. Local Red Cross teams ordered specialized devices for Paige and volunteers Paul and Barb Henke went to Paige’s home to install them.
The specialized alarm is installed next to the bed, and will alert Paige using a strobe light or vibrating pad that can be placed under her pillow. It’s activated when an accompanying traditional smoke alarm sounds.
Paige’s mother Jessica tells the Red Cross that the new smoke alarms give her peace of mind, knowing that Paige will be alerted if a fire breaks out in their home. While home fires present a big problem, with the right tools and safety education, lives can be saved.
Thanks to the tireless work of our volunteers, employees, local fire departments and other partners, as of December 2018, at least 486 lives have been saved as a result of the Home Fire Campaign. The campaign was launched in 2014 to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires.
Red Cross services, such as smoke alarm installations, are free of charge thanks to generous partners. Anyone who needs smoke alarms can make a request at getasmokealarm.org and a Red Cross representative will contact them to schedule free installation.