By Rachel Almond
Over the past two years, I have come to understand the importance of home fire safety—especially how important it is that everyone has properly working smoke alarms installed in their home. I understand this because for the past two years, I have been a regular volunteer at the Red Cross Los Angeles Region’s free smoke alarm installation events—formerly known as Home Fire Campaigns and now known as Sound the Alarm. Save a Life events.
As a Red Cross volunteer installer at these events, I go door to door, as part of a team of three people—one installer, one home fire safety educator and one documenter—and together we are directly affecting people’s lives, by working to reduce deaths and injuries related to home fires by 25 percent.
A few weekends ago, on March 3, I volunteered at my fifth free smoke alarm installation event. This event, Sound the Alarm – Pomona, took place on a raining Saturday morning. But, the rain didn’t stop us from installing more than 450 free smoke alarms in homes throughout the neighborhood.
On this particular occasion, I worked at based camp, helping to manage the logistics that come with a grass-roots style Red Cross home fire safety event. As a base camp volunteer, I was one of the first to learn that the work our teams of installers, home fire safety educators and documenters were doing out in the field was not going unnoticed. By 11 a.m. the first residents made their way to our camp, asking if they too could have new properly working smoke alarms installed. And, as the day rolled on, more and more local community members came by and asked if their home could be added to our list of homes that needed new alarms. Of course, these extra homes would mean more work for us volunteers—but we rose to the challenge and, although exhausted, stayed out in the neighborhood until well after 4 p.m. making sure everyone and every family who needed smoke alarms, got them!
During Sound the Alarm events, we always offer special smoke alarms for the deaf and hard of hearing. I was extremely pleased that during the Pomona installation event we were able to install these special alarms, meeting the needs of everyone who needed Red Cross assistance.
This spring, the Red Cross Los Angeles Region will hold four back to back Sound the Alarm events in Compton, Sylmar, South Los Angeles and East Los Angeles—and I am excited to get back out in the community again, and help make Los Angeles even safer from home fires.
To volunteer at an upcoming Sound the Alarm event, go to: http://preparesocal.org/soundthealarm/.