[Photo credit/The Red Cross]By Andrea V. Watson
ENGLEWOOD—To help reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires, The American Red Cross will relaunch its Sound the Alarm campaign, kicking off right in Englewood April 28.
This campaign is moving forward after being postponed last summer so the Red Cross could focus on hurricane disaster relief, said spokeswoman Catherine Rabenstine.
At least 300 families in Englewood will receive free smoke alarms and volunteers will even install them. A total of 2,000 free smoke alarms will be installed over the course of four weeks across Chicago and northern Illinois. The American Red Cross is partnering with the Chicago Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications to install the smoke alarms in what they’re calling high-risk neighborhoods.
The Red Cross is still in need of more volunteers though, said Rabenstine.
The organization has been providing free smoke alarm installations since 2014, she said.
“But because we acknowledged that there are too many fatal fires happening across the nation, we wanted to help people feel prepared and safe in their homes, so we’re launching Sound The Alarm, as a major campaign to educate and help get smoke alarms in homes,” she said.
To kickoff the event, there will be a news conference at Hamilton Park, 513 W. 72nd St. with Red Cross CEO Celena Roldán, Chicago Fire Commissioner José Santiago, Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) Executive Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau, and Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) in attendance.
The Red Cross wants to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires, Rabenstine said.
“I don’t think this is just on the South Side of Chicago,” she said. “I think across the U.S., period, people take the batteries out of their smoke alarms to put it in their TV remote because it’s ‘right there.’ It’s little things like that, which makes families unprepared for a home fire. I don’t think people are in the habit of checking their smoke alarm batteries, making sure they work.”
Tate-Nadeau, said the City of Chicago is pleased to support the Red Cross with this campaign.
“Efforts to educate residents on fire safety and escape, coupled with free smoke alarm installations in communities, can save lives,” she said. “We also encourage residents to have an emergency exit plan and be sure all family members are prepared for potential emergencies, including fires.”
During the free installation, families will receive resources, education and the volunteers will help create an escape plan.
Visit soundthealarm.org/chicago to apply to be a volunteer. Youth volunteers are encouraged to participate in the Home Fire Campaign activities. There’s no minimum age requirement, but some volunteer positions have age restrictions or require parental or adult supervision.
There will be additional Sound the Alarm installation events in Chicago neighborhoods and across the northern Illinois region including:
- Dekalb, April 28
- Schaumburg, Streator, Naplate and Ottawa, May 5
- North Chicago and Rockford, May 12
- Auburn Gresham and Joliet, May 19
For those who are interested in having a smoke alarm installed, but their neighborhood isn’t listed as one of the campaign stops, they can visit Getasmokealarm.org.