Red Cross NJ is seeking volunteers to help install free smoke alarms
The American Red Cross is looking for 30,000 volunteers to help install 100,000 free smoke alarms across the nation during its two week push of its Sound the Alarm home fire safety events this spring.
Rosie Taravella, CEO of the American Red Cross New Jersey region, is hoping to have 3,000 alarms installed in the Garden State. She said there are up to seven deaths a day from home fires. So by having working smoke alarms, she said she knows the danger could be cut in half.
Volunteers will be going out between April 27 and May 12, providing free smoke alarms and giving people some education about what to do when the alarm goes off.
People can register to volunteer at www.redcross.org/soundthealarmnj at home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events in Newark on April 27 and 28, Millville on May 4 and 5 and Berkeley on May 7 to 10.
Taravella said the smoke alarms are gifts from the American people. The Red Cross raises funds every year for the preparedness and disaster response programs. Taravella said people in lower-income neighborhoods tend not to have enough alarms.
Sound the Alarm started in 2014 to help reduce fire deaths and injuries. So far it has reached more than 1.7 million people and saved an estimated 500 lives. In New Jersey, the Red Cross has installed more than 35,000 free smoke alarms, made more than 16,000 households safer and in November 2016 saved 18 lives in Orange, where a smoke alarm that had been installed by the Red Cross notified families in the multi-family home to a fire.
There are several things families can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire. The most important is to create a home fire escape plan that includes at least two ways to escape each room. Practice that plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes, which is the time that it can take a fire to rip through a home. Have a meeting spot outside the home to reunite after escaping.
She said there should be a smoke alarm installed on every level of the house , inside all bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements. Make sure to test the alarms and replace the batteries at least twice a year, preferably at daylight savings time.
More from New Jersey 101.5: