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Red Cross and Augusta Fire department partner to ‘Sound the Alarm’ on home fires

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Two minutes may be all the time you have to escape a home fire before it’s too late.

That’s why the American Red Cross of East Central Georgia partnered with Augusta Fire Department/EMA on Saturday, May 21, to make sure local families are prepared to get out safely with working smoke alarms — which can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half.

Together, over 40 local Red Cross volunteers and firefighters installed 65 free smoke alarms for vulnerable households in Hephzibah, helped them create home fire escape plans, and shared vital fire safety information.  Red Cross volunteers also made appointments to install more smoke alarms over the next coming weeks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, three of every fire deaths occurred in homes with no smoke alarms or no working alarms.  Here in Augusta, firefighters average one fire call every day.

“The number one thing smoke alarms provide people is time.  Time to safely get out of the home or, depending on size, time for a person to put the fire out,” said Fire Chief/EMA Director Antonio Burden.  “All we ask people to do is check their alarm once a month, maintain the alarm, and replace it when its manufacturer-recommended lifespan has expired.”

Susan Everitt, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of East Central GA says, “Most of us don’t realize we have just two minutes to escape a home fire — which is the nation’s most frequent disaster. That’s why the American Red Cross is preparing families to act quickly through our Home Fire Campaign with our community partners. We are so appreciative for the partnership and support we have with the Augusta Fire/EMA Department for this event – and for all the times we respond to families who have suffered a home fire.”

This effort in the Augusta area community is part of a series of national Red Cross Sound the Alarm events in May to install 50,000 free smoke alarms in at-risk neighborhoods across the country. Events like these are at the heart of the national Home Fire Campaign. Through home visits, the American Red Cross and their  partners have installed more than 2.2 million free smoke alarms and prepared more than 2.5 million people for home fires across the nation.

On behalf of those they serve, the American Red Cross thanks everyone who helped during Saturday’s Sound the Alarm event — as well as to our remarkable volunteers, donors and community partners who support the campaign year-round. To learn more about how you can protect your family and get involved, visit SoundTheAlarm.org.

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