The American Red Cross Greater Pennsylvania Region installed more than 2,300 free smoke alarms and made close to 1,000 homes safer during nine area Sound the Alarm events that were held over the past three weeks – from April 27 to May 12 - in communities throughout our 50-county footprint. These Sound the Alarm events were part of a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing the number of home fire related deaths and injuries.
Hundreds of Red Cross and community volunteers joined forces with area fire departments and our local business partners to canvass communities that were identified as having a high number of home fires yet were less likely to have working smoke alarms.
“Having a working smoke alarm increases your chance of safely evacuating a burning home by 50%,” noted Dan Tobin, American Red Cross Greater Pennsylvania Region Director of Marketing and Communications. “Unfortunately, many homes lack smoke alarms. Our goal is to provide residents with the tools they need to hopefully reduce the risk of fire and, should one occur, the tools and knowledge to safely evacuate the burning building.”
Since October 2014, the American Red Cross has installed over 1.6 million free smoke alarms and has educated the residents of nearly 673,000 households on the importance of having and practicing home fire escape plans. To date, over 550 lives have been saved nationwide due to our efforts.
Tobin added, “We often hear from people who say, ‘I already have smoke alarms.’ Yet, when you ask them, they tell you the smoke alarms are 20 or 30 years old. Most people don’t realize that smoke alarms are only able to detect smoke for around 10 years! It’s important that people not only have smoke alarms, but that they have smoke alarms that work and are not outdated.”
The nine events that were held in our region included (note that the total alarm count given here is higher – in most cases – than what was first reported on the photo galleries. This is because requests for smoke alarms have been received following the events and crews of volunteers have returned to the communities to install as needed):
Week One National Sound the Alarm Events – view photos
- Jefferson (Greene County) – 55 free smoke alarms installed | 36 homes made safer
- Hollidaysburg (Blair County) – 256 free smoke alarms installed | 86 homes made safer
- Ellwood City (Lawrence County) – 291 free smoke alarms installed | 122 homes made safer
Week Two National Sound the Alarm Events – view photos
- Shamokin (Northumberland County) – 200 free smoke alarms installed | 81 homes made safer
- Mechanicsburg (Cumberland County) – 270 free smoke alarms installed | 114 homes made safer
- Carrick (Allegheny County) – 436 free smoke alarms installed | 209 homes made safer
- Meadville (Crawford County) – 267 free smoke alarms installed | 101 homes made safer
Week Three National Sound the Alarm Events – view photos
- Mt. Carmel – 339 free smoke alarms installed – 96 homes made safer
- West Newton (Westmoreland County) – 192 free smoke alarms installed | 124 homes made safer
Our Sound the Alarm events are made possible by the generous support of our financial sponsors, including our national sponsors (Airbnb, Delta Airlines, FEMA, and Nissan), regional sponsors (Erie Insurance and UGI), and local sponsors (Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Dominion Energy, Ellwood City Forge, Emerson, Eric Ryan Corporation, FedEx Ground, Giant, Loccisano’s Golden Dawn, Millers Mutual, MSA-The Safety Company, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Reliance Bank, Sheetz, State Farm, TransCanada Charitable Foundation, The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, The United Way of Lawrence County, UPMC/UPMC Health Plan, and Ward Trucking).
The Red Cross would also like to thank others who have supported our efforts in the community, including Bhutanese Community Association, Boy Scout Troop 614, Carrick Community Council, Carrick High School, Pittsburgh City Councilor Anthony Coghill, Collinsburg Volunteer Fire Company, Senator Jay Costa, Ellwood City Forge employees, Ellwood City Fire Department, City of Meadville (City Manager’s Office, Public Safety Office, and Central Fire Department), City of Meadville Lions Club, Country Fair, Mechanicsburg Boy Scouts, Love Carrick, Mechanicsburg Fire Department, Mechanicsburg Mayor Jack Ritter, Mowery, Phillips Recreational Center, Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, Pittsburgh Police Zone 3, Representative Harry Readshaw, Slippers Rock University students, Senator Judy Ward, West Newtown Volunteer Fire Company, and Voodoo Brewery.
Tobin concluded, “We are so very grateful to our volunteers, financial sponsors, fire departments, and community and corporate partners who always answer the call to help at our Sound the Alarm events. Their efforts will no doubt one day save lives!”