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Roughly 400 Red Cross and community volunteers joined forces with area fire departments to educate residents on the importance of having and practicing home fire escape plans and to install free smoke alarms as needed when they canvassed Homewood, Aliquippa, Uniontown, and Clearfield on Saturday, April 28, as part of the national American Red Cross Sound the Alarm event.
Locally, the Red Cross installed 1,354 free smoke alarms during the event, which targeted communities which witness a higher rate of home fires yet are less likely to have working smoke alarms. Nationwide, the American Red Cross is targeting 100 high-risk communities and hopes to install 100,000 free smoke alarms over a three-week period.
“This past winter we unfortunately saw a high number of home fire fatalities throughout Western Pennsylvania,” noted Dan Tobin, American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Director of Marketing and Communications. “Working smoke alarms and home fire escape plans can give you the valuable time needed to safely escape a burning home. The work these volunteers do here in our local communities today will no doubt one day save a life!”
Since October 2014, the American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Region has installed over 20,000 free smoke alarms in our area. Nationally, over one million smoke alarms have been installed.
Red Cross Western Pennsylvania CEO Patricia Waldinger, State Senator Jay Costa, State Representative Ed Gainey, and Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Chief Darryl Jones kicked-off the Western Pennsylvania Sound the Alarm events by providing opening remarks at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. Similar opening ceremonies were held in the other communities. Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker participated in the Aliquippa event, and Clearfield Borough Manager Leslie Stott, Clearfield Fire Department Chief Justin Worley, and the Clearfield County Commissioners participated in the Clearfield event.
Tobin added, “Recently, the American Red Cross conducted a survey of homeowners where they found that 40% thought they had a better chance of winning the lottery or being struck by lightening than experiencing a home fire. Home fires can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. Our goal is to provide residents with the tools and knowledge needed to prevent – and, if necessary, to successfully escape – a burning building.”
The American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Region is grateful to have the support of its volunteers and Sound the Alarm community and corporate partners.
Financial partners include (nationally) Almost Family, Delta Airlines, FEMA, International Paper, (locally) CNB Bank, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Duquesne Light Company, Erie Insurance, MSA – The Safety Company, PPG Foundation, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, Pittsburgh Steelers, UPMC/UPMC Health Plan, United Way, and Zwick Law Offices.
Community partners and others who provided volunteer and logistical support include the Aliquippa Fire Department, Aliquippa Salvation Army Youth Group, Buck’s Pizza, Butler PA Volunteers Group, California University, Clearfield Borough, Clearfield County Commissioners, Clearfield Fire Department, Fayette County Community Action Agency, Homewood-Brushton YMCA, Sherry Hoover, Frances Jordan from the Homewood Community of Ministries, Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, Pittsburgh Police, Sheetz, St. Titus Parish in Aliquippa, Team Rubicon, Teletech, The Mission Continues, Uniontown Hospital, and Wounded Warrior.
Tobin concluded, “All of us at the Red Cross are so very grateful to our volunteers, financial sponsors, local fire departments, and community and corporate partners who always answer the call and come together to improve the lives of people within our local communities. Their support enables us to Sound the Alarm. Save a Life.”