(MITCHELL) – The American Red Cross is holding a home fire canvassing event in Mitchell on Saturday, May 18. The event, which is the fifth of its kind held in Lawrence County, is part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign.
Seven times a day someone in the United States dies in a house fire. The American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is sweeping the country, striving to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over five years. During the home fire canvassing events, the Red Cross mobilizes volunteers and teams up with local fire departments and community partners to install smoke alarms, provide safety tips and encourage residents to practice fire escape plans
The Red Cross is partnering with the Mitchell Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) and other volunteers to install smoke alarms in Mitchell neighborhoods on Saturday, May 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Volunteers will contact residents between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to install smoke alarms in homes that need them, and teach people how to prepare for fire or other emergencies, such as tornados.
Mitchell Fire Chief Tyler Duncan said the Mitchell VFD volunteers, as well as some of the Marion Township VFD volunteers, will be knocking on doors and helping to install the alarms.
“Our firemen already volunteer so much of their time to train and fight fires,” said Duncan, “but now they’ve offered to give their time to install these detectors because in our line of work, we’ve definitely seen the value of smoke alarms in saving lives.”
“Installing smoke alarms cuts the risk of someone dying from a home fire in half, so we’re working with fire departments to get the alarms in local homes,” said Teena Ligman, Red Cross disaster team member. “Firefighters are the ideal partners to work with. They see first-hand how many of the homes where people are injured in a fire had no smoke alarms. We’re all believers in this cause.”
More volunteers are needed to help with the campaign. The process is simple and requires no advanced training. Volunteers will meet at the Mitchell Fire Station on Doc Hamilton Blvd at 9:30 a.m on May 18 for a training/orientation session, be assigned teams and equipment and provided maps of their area to canvas. The Red Cross and Fire Department welcome any individuals or groups who wish to help with the project. Duncan said, “The more teams we have, the more homes will be safe at the end of the day.”
The high-quality smoke alarms the teams will install contain sealed 10-year batteries. They are provided by the Red Cross at no charge. For more information, or to help with the campaign, contact Maria Carrasquillo at 812-275-5162. Lunch will be provided for volunteers.
Duncan hopes for a good turnout, “We have an ambitious plan to cover a big area, but we can only do that if we get people to come out and help. Mitchell has had more than its share of fire fatalities and injuries. We want to turn that around. We’re all here to do what we can to keep people in Mitchell safer.”
Home fires are the most common disaster people face in this country – and are the majority of the nearly 64,000 disasters the Red Cross responds to every year. A recent Red Cross survey showed most people are overconfident and underprepared when it comes to home fire safety.
The Red Cross asks every household to take two simple steps:
1. Practice fire drills at home. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home and the Red Cross urges every household to create a fire escape plan and practice it until everyone can escape in less than two minutes.
2. Check smoke alarms monthly. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms. Test smoke alarms once a month. Change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.
About the Indiana Region of the American Red Cross:
The Indiana Region serves 87 counties statewide through its six-chapter areas: Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and Greater Indianapolis (Regional Headquarters). For more information on the Indiana Region: www.redcross.org/indiana. Follow the Indiana Region on Twitter at: @INRedCross, on Instagram at: @indianaredcross or www.facebook.com/INRedCross.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.