The American Red Cross rallied more than 29,000 volunteers across the country who joined forces with fire departments and community partners to install 120,000 free smoke alarms in at-risk communities from April 27 to May 12 during part of a special two-week push of our Sound the Alarm smoke alarm installation and fire safety events.
In New Jersey, more than 700 volunteers joined the efforts, installing more than 3,650 free smoke alarms across the state – exceeding our statewide goal by 1,100 installations – helping make more than 1,550 homes safer during the Sound the Alarm initiative, which included our signature events in Newark, Millville and Holiday City.
“Home fires are our nation’s most frequent disaster, killing seven people each day—often in homes without working smoke alarms,” said Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “Working together with local fire departments and with the support of community partners, Sound the Alarm brings smoke alarms and fire safety education to some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable communities.”
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers and fire departments in New Jersey, 3,750 more people have the fire safety knowledge and smoke alarms necessary to help protect them in the event of a home fire.
New Jersey Sound the Alarm festivities kicked off in Newark where 325 volunteers from the Red Cross, Newark Department of Public Safety, including Newark Fire Division, MIRA USA, Avalon Bay Communities, and New Jersey Devils spent the weekend of April 27 and April 28 going door-to-door in North Ward and East Ward neighborhoods, installing 1,169 free smoke alarms and educating more than 350 households about fire safety. American Red Cross President of Training Services Jack McMaster and members of his team joined our teams to help Sound the Alarm and save lives in Newark.
View photos from Newark
In the North Ward, Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Fire Chief Rufus Jackson and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, as well as Councilman Augusto Amador in the East Ward, welcomed and thanked volunteers before they took to the streets to canvas some of Newark’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. Assemblywoman Shanique Speight shared with volunteers how a home fire impacted her life.
“My family experienced a fire at our home when I was in the third grade,” said Assemblywoman Speight. “I have memories of the Red Cross being there to help me and my family with lodging and other assistance. I’m grateful to the work of the Red Cross, which has been a help to families affected by home fires here in Newark and across the state of New Jersey.”
Nearly 100 volunteers participated on May 4 and May 5 – with many braving the continuous rainfall on Sunday – to canvass Millville with fire safety information and install free smoke alarms in homes that needed them.
View photos from Millville
American Red Cross Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Floyd W. Pitts, J.D. joined Mayor Michael Santiago, Commissioner Bruce Cooper, and Assemblymen R. Bruce Land and Matthew W. Milam as they greeted volunteers participating with the event. Fire Chief Michael Lippincott delivered a safety message to the teams before joining them to hit the streets.
Together, Red Cross volunteers, the Millville Fire Department and volunteers from CarMax installed 271 smoke alarms and provided fire safety education to 110 households.
During a four-day Sound the Alarm event in Holiday City spanning from May 7 through May 10, volunteers from the Red Cross, Manitou Park Volunteer Fire Company, Novartis, Vonage, Hackensack Meridian Health, and State Farm, joined volunteers organized by representatives with the Holiday City Homeowners Corporation Carefree Community and Silver Ridge Park East Association, to help make these senior communities safer. American Red Cross Northeast Division Fundraising Vice President Bill Andrews and Vice President Mathieu Nelessen also joined the New Jersey teams to Sound the Alarm and help save lives in Holiday City.
View photos from Holiday City
Berkeley Township Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. and Chief Joseph J. Jubert with the Manitou Park Volunteer Fire Company, together with Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders Director Virginia E. Haines, Kelly Boyd and Lynn Amari with NJ Office of Emergency Management, welcomed and thanked the volunteers for donating their time to help save lives.
At the end of the four-day event, more than 220 volunteers made 696 homes safer through fire safety education and the installation of 1,472 free smoke alarms.
THE HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN ACROSS THE STATE
An additional 743 smoke alarm installations during fire safety events held within the same two-week period, like one in Camden, helped make more than 400 homes in New Jersey safer.
Since its launch in 2014, the Red Cross and our community partners have saved at least 593 lives—including 18 lives saved in New Jersey—and made more than 709,000 households safer through the Home Fire Campaign. In New Jersey, Red Cross and partners have installed more than 38,000 free smoke alarms.
“It warms my heart to see volunteers from a variety of partners coming together to support the lifesaving efforts of Sound the Alarm,” Taravella said. “We have made great strides toward protecting New Jerseyans from home fires, but our work is far from over. Everyone can join us in our fight against home fires by taking two simple steps to help save lives: price fire drills at home and check to ensure your smoke alarms are functioning properly.”
This work is made possible thanks to generous financial support from national partners like Airbnb, Delta Air Lines, Nissan North America and regional partners like PSEG, New Jersey Natural Gas, Atlantic City Electric, Avalon Bay Communities and New Jersey Devils.