How volunteers are helping to End Home Fires

Home fires claim seven lives every day, but having working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death by half.

Donors, volunteers and partners made our Sound the Alarm. Save a Life campaign a lifesaving success this year. This past spring, Red Cross of Central California volunteers and local partners installed more than 1,100 free smoke alarms across 6 cities and made 534 households safer from the threat of home fires as part of the national Red Cross Home Fire Campaign in May 2022.

We asked some volunteers to share their experiences after participating in a Sound the Alarm event. Here are their stories.

“We were happy to help a woman install and check her smoke alarms. After she told us a sad story of her waking up to smoke after falling asleep with her stove on. Luckily, she was able to get herself and her granddaughter out safely. She was super grateful for all of our help!” shared first-time volunteer, Devany Prieto.

“Our volunteers were welcomed with open arms by the community when saw Red Cross volunteers there being good community members and helping keep people safe. That was really special,” said Jordan Scott, Board Member of the Red Cross Central Valley Chapter. “We visited over 100 homes and hopefully left them in better shape than they started, thanks to installing free smoke alarms, testing their existing alarms and providing fire safety information. Thank you to everyone who came out to volunteer and helped make a difference.”

“I have volunteered for two events now and both have been so enjoyable. I love that we get to learn about the community members we are helping. It feels so much more valuable when you get to know the community members on a personal level,” shared Jazzmine Young.

This week is Fire Prevention Week — an important reminder to protect your family against the threat of home fires. These everyday disasters can strike quickly and leave you with as little as two minutes to safely escape. Working smoke alarms can make all the difference when a fire happens. Test yours monthly to make sure it’s operating correctly and not over 10 years old.

Top Tips for Fire Safety

  • To help stay safe from home fires, place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Test alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.
  • Create a home fire escape plan with at least two ways to exit every room in your home.
  • Practice your plan until everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes.

This work is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from regional partners: Bank of the Sierra, Bitwise, Coarsegold Market, North Fork Supermarket, PennyMac and The Wonderful Company.

To learn more about the Home Fire Campaign and how you can get involved, visit

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