AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Sound the Alarm, Save a Life is a home fire campaign aimed to educate at least 100 thousand people on fire safety, and it’s all just a click away.
“In the Augusta Chapter, there have been five fatalities. That’s five too many,” says Matthew Akins, Preparedness Program Leader with the American Red Cross.
Just two minutes. That’s how much time fire experts say you have to escape a home fire safely.
“We want everybody to learn to get low and go, and when they get out, stay out, have a meeting place outside where everybody can gather so everybody knows they’re safe, we want them to have an escape plan, two ways out of each room,” says Akins.
Akins says there are several common but deadly mistakes people make during a fire.
“People will go back in to get something; we’ve had a couple of those this fiscal year; people don’t have an escape plan; they don’t know what to do. People will try to escape by standing up and inhale a bunch of smoke, and they pass out. We had one elderly lady who made it all the way to her front door, but that as far as she made it, she passed out,” says Akins.
Through the Sound the alarm, Save a life initiative, fire experts plan to target high-risk communities those are …
“Poverty Stricken areas anyone that would be in an elderly community, children, areas in which you may not have mobility not able to get out we want to make sure that if you are disabled and you are possibly in a nursing home or anything like that we want to make sure we equip those areas because we have had fatalities not only in those that are immobile but children and it’s very important that in any of those communities that everyone is taken care of. The red cross’s mission is that we help all,” says Samantha Moore Valentine, a volunteer with the American Red Cross.
Through online trainings, kids and families can learn how to prevent and escape a home fire. The training also includes A free installation of smoke alarms for all rooms in your home. A firefighter will assist with that.
“They schedule to come to your home, they’ll do the installation, but we are available virtually, so virtually we can contact you via phone and we’ll say hey we know you have a free installation coming up but we want to talk to you about a few things,” says Valentine.
Samantha – is a trained volunteer with the American Red Cross and she says they’ve shaped their services around COVID-19 protocols.
“We wanted to make sure that we ensure that we follow the CDC covid-19 protocols and the protocols of our community as well, we would not want to send anyone into a home especially with our older Americans and our individuals with underlying health issues because we didn’t want to put anyone at risk so we immediately started thinking how can we ensure that we educate the community on fire safety and getting these installations done,” says Valentine.
Volunteers will also help you with putting together an evacuation plan for your family.
“So the big thing is making sure you have a plan in place, we don’t want to give you equipment and not euip you with the knowledge, so that you can be safe,” says Valentine.
So far, the training has saved more than 40 lives, and red cross leaders want to continue this initiative, but they need your help. Right now, the Red Cross is taking donations to continue its campaign.