BERKELEY – A group of people canvassed a local senior community, providing free smoke alarms to those who needed them.
It was part of an effort called “Sound the Alarm. Save a Life,” overseen by the Red Cross.
“Home fires kill more people in an average year than every other domestic natural disaster combined,” said Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “To combat these tragedies, in 2014, the American Red Cross launched the multi-year Home Fire Campaign in New Jersey and across the country to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires.”
“We are making a difference. Since the launch, the Home Fire Campaign is credited with helping save more than 580 lives across the country – 18 of those lives saved were right here in New Jersey,” she said.
The Red Cross New Jersey Region has overseen more than 35,000 free smoke alarm installations, she said. Additionally, workers have helped families create fire escape plans for 16,000 households.
The most recent event started off at Holiday City Carefree. Throughout May 12, there will be 100,000 free smoke alarms installed throughout the country, she said.
Mayor Carmen Amato thanked the 62 volunteers and community partners that helped, such as the Holiday City Carefree Homeowners Association and the Manitou Park Fire Department.
“We will be working with the American Red Cross to have them back again for other areas of town,” he said.
“Every day, seven people die from home fires,” he said. “Children under the age of five are almost one-and-a-half times more likely to die in a home fire when compared to older youth. Adults over the age of 65 are two times more likely to die in a home fire than the average American.”
Every household can be safer with just two simple steps, he said: test your smoke alarms and practice your family fire escape plan.
“You may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home. Make sure everyone in your household knows the fire escape plan and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes,” he said.
Other speakers included Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines and Chief Joseph Jubert from the Manitou Park Fire Company.
For more information, visit redcross.org.