On September 3, 2020, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced it has invested $400,000 in the American Red Cross’ (Red Cross) Sound the Alarm program for home fire prevention, preparedness and recovery, and to help create disaster-ready kits for its shelters in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote disaster planning, and this year Blue Cross NC has committed $100,000 to support the Red Cross’ efforts to create 10 pandemic-ready shelter kits to keep residents and volunteers safe as they navigate disasters during the evolving public health crisis. Each kit includes enough PPE and other essential supplies to enable 150 workers and residents (and those seeking safe shelter from threats such as hurricanes and flooding to monitor and address basic health and wellness and social distancing needs for up to two weeks.
Combined with the health and financial challenges brought on by COVID-19, the need for disaster relief in at-risk communities is greater than ever before. The Red Cross has been working hard to ensure public health personnel and disaster relief workers are trained to provide safe shelter environments.
In addition to supporting disaster relief efforts, Blue Cross NC has renewed its 2017 commitment to the Red Cross’ Sound the Alarm initiative with a $300,000 investment in the program over the next three years.
Home fires claim seven lives every day, with most victims in homes lacking smoke alarms. Sound the Alarm aims to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from home fires by installing free smoke alarms and sharing fire safety information with at-risk communities. Since the launch of Sound the Alarm in 2014, the smoke alarm installations have saved the lives of 29 people across the state.
“Blue Cross NC is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of all North Carolinians,” said Cheryl Parquet, Director of Community and Diversity Engagement at Blue Cross NC. “That’s why we have invested in the American Red Cross, which not only prepares families with access to the right prevention information and tools, but also provides support and saves lives when disasters hit.”
“We are so grateful for the partnership we have with Blue Cross and Blue Shield,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO of the Red Cross in Eastern NC. “Their commitment to the Sound the Alarm campaign allows the Red Cross to continue to educate people about home fire safety and the importance of working smoke alarms.”
To find shelter information and weather and emergency alerts, download the free Red Cross Emergency App, and to learn more about Sound the Alarm, visit www.soundthealarm.org.enc