Red Cross’ Sound the Alarm Campaign promotes home fire safety

The Sound the Alarm event allows the Red Cross to ensure public safety during house fires.
The Sound the Alarm event allows the Red Cross to ensure public safety during house fires.(Source: The American Red Cross)
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 11:46 AM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Red Cross of North Louisiana is stressing the prevention of home fires this month. It’s part of their Sound the Alarm, Save a Life Campaign that takes place annually in January.

Karen McCoy, the executive director of the Red Cross of North Louisiana, says house fires are the number one disaster they respond to. She says they respond to about one house fire every three days in the region.

“Sound the Alarm really started as an initiative to reduce the number of home fires and reduce the number of deaths from home fires,” says McCoy.

Since the campaign started in 2014, she says they’ve been able to install about 2,900 smoke alarms in homes throughout Morehouse, Union, and Ouachita Parishes. The Red Cross works with fire departments to help families check existing alarms and get new ones year-round. But, the agency also goes a step further and helps families make an evacuation plan in the event of a fire and go over fire safety.

“Most people don’t know what to do in the event of a fire and one of the main things is that you have two minutes to get out of a home,” explains McCoy. “A lot of people will go out and they’ll get out of the home and they can’t find a loved one and the next thing they’re doing is going back into a burning home and that’s the last thing we want them to do is go back in, so it’s imperative that you have a central meeting location to meet with your loved ones.”

This year the campaign’s signature events, where they go out into neighborhoods door-to-door offering smoke alarms and fire safety tips, are in Baton Rouge and Kenner.

The Red Cross of North Louisiana is working on setting up mini-events in NELA to canvas neighborhoods. We will update this story with the dates and times when they’ve been announced.

McCoy stresses that while January is the month for their campaign, they help people with smoke alarms any day of the year. You can call the Northeast Louisiana office at (318) 323-5141 to make an appointment.

She says this time of year when we’re in and out of our cold spells, they see an increase in fires.

The chapter also needs more volunteers and you can sign up here.

McCoy says volunteers are what fuels the agency and it’s a meaningful opportunity.

“One lady who has volunteered for years and years and years and she said when she was a little girl they had a real Christmas tree with lights around it and her home caught on fire right at Christmas from that tree and she remembered the Red Cross coming in,” says McCoy. “They lost everything, but thankfully everybody made it out alive, but they lost everything and she remembers the Red Cross being there to help and that’s what has propelled her to volunteer all these years.”