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Helping people prepare

March 19, 2019
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The American Red Cross is currently seeking volunteers to help install 100,000 free smoke alarms.
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The American Red Cross is currently seeking volunteers to help install 100,000 free smoke alarms.

CHARLESTON — The American Red Cross West Virginia Region seeks volunteers to help install 100,000 free smoke alarms during a two-week push of Sound the Alarm home fire safety events next month.

There are a number of ways you can be involved, depending on your interests and skill sets, and training will be provided. Home visit teams consisting of an installer, educator and documenter will install alarms and work with the family to create home escape plans and provide safety education.

People can register at SoundTheAlarm.org/WestVirginia to volunteer at home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across West Virginia and raise donations to help save lives from home fires. These crises are the nation’s most frequent disaster and kill seven people each day — often in homes without working smoke alarms.

“Neighbors vulnerable to home fires need your support today to prevent needless tragedies/′ said Erica Mani, Chief Executive Officer for the West Virginia Region of the American Red Cross. “You can help families by ensuring they have working smoke alarms and know how to stay safe from these everyday disasters. Please join us to volunteer or raise funds to support our free, lifesaving services.”

What is Sound The Alarm?

From April 27 to May 12, the Red Cross is rallying 30,000 volunteers and partners to install 100,000 free smoke alarms and help families create home fire escape plans in 100 high-risk communities nationwide. Services are free for all those in need and being provided with local fire departments, community organizations and others in West Virginia, where hundreds of volunteers are needed.

Volunteers are needed

Charles “Chuck” Clegg, a Red Cross Disaster Volunteer from the Parkersburg area, is among the volunteers who comprise more than 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce. Throughout March — Red Cross Month — the Red Cross honors these volunteer heroes. Since 2015, Chuck has been responsible for installing more than 1,000 alarms in West Virginia homes to help reduce death and

injuries due to home fires by installing free smoke alarms and helping families develop escape plans. When he began volunteering with Sound the Alarm, little did Chuck know, that an alarm he installed would help to save his own family’s lives. In January 2018, a fire started at his daughter’s home and the smoke alarm alerted the family to a home fire, enabling his daughter and her husband to evacuate safely. Chuck also coordinated an installation event in a mobile home park where four additional lives were saved. Nearly a quarter of the 25 lives saved in West Virginia through these efforts were attributed to Chuck’s contributions.

Campaign to #EndHomeFires

Sound the Alarm events are part of the Home Fire Campaign, which the Red Cross launched in 2014 to reduce fire deaths and injuries. So far, it has reached more than 1.7 million people and saved more than 500 lives nationwide. In West Virginia, the Red Cross and local partners have:

• Installed more than 22,000 free smoke alarms

• Made more than 8,000 households safer

• Reached nearly 17,000 children through youth preparedness programs

This work is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from regional partners: United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Brickstreet Foundation, State Farm Insurance, Erie Insurance, Toyota Motor Manufacturing of WV, City of South Charleston, Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, Wood County Rotary, Bernard McDonough Foundation, Inc., Kindred at Home and Community Connections.

To volunteer, request a smoke alarm installation in your home or a loved one’s home or to learn more, please call 844-216-8286 or visit SoundTheAlarm.org/West-Virginia.

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