Home Fire Survivor: Gail’s Story

Every year, the American Red Cross invites volunteers, employees, corporate partners and community groups to help with Sound the Alarm as part of the Home Fire Campaign. Teams go out into the community and offer to install free smoke alarms in homes as well as provide home fire safety information to residents. Since launching in October 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign has saved at least 1,583 lives nationwide — including 35 people in the Indiana Region — from the threat of home fires, which claim seven lives every day in the U.S. Most often, these tragedies occur in homes without working smoke alarms.

In addition to helping keep communities safer from home fires, Sound the Alarm is also a great way to meet members of our community and hear their stories. During a recent Sound the Alarm event in the South Ripple community in Indianapolis, Red Cross workers Loida, Sandra and Benji approached Gail, who was working in the yard, in the hopes of sharing home fire safety information and installing new smoke alarms. They had no idea the story they were about to hear.

Gail had suffered a loss: her sister had passed on. She decided to fix up her sister’s home in hopes of keeping her memory alive. Gail was more than happy to let the Red Cross team into the home, and as they walked in they found a smoke alarm sitting on a dresser chirping away. Another two alarms were found to be nine years old.

Home Fire Survivor
As Benji, Loida and the rest of Sound the Alarm Team 17 replaced the alarms, Gail told them how she had been in a home fire when she was a child and had saved her mother, sister, and brother. She said that the Red Cross had assisted her family in recovering from the fire and now had two Red Cross stories to share with people. As the team was preparing to leave, Gail told them that she was thankful to know that if a fire occurs, she now has the knowledge and alarms to help her escape from the home safely.

We encourage you to join the American Red Cross as a volunteer to help us build more resilient communities. Please visit redcross.org/volunteer.

Written by Communications Volunteer James Russell.

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