Two minutes may be all the time you have to escape a home fire before it’s too late.
That’s why the American Red Cross Kern County & Eastern Sierra Chapter partnered with The Wonderful Company, Lost Hills Community Center, Kern County Fire Department and Kern County CERT on March 18 to Sound the Alarm about home fire safety in Lost Hills.
The goal of these events are to make sure local families are prepared to get out safely with working smoke alarms — which can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Volunteers set out to install as many smoke alarms as possible, and ended the day with 232 free smoke alarms installed for local families and 85 homes made safer overall. An incredible feat!
The Kern County Fire Department and Fire Explorers showed up in full force to help install smoke alarms for their neighbors and to help prevent home fires before they occur. When a home fire displaces a family, fire departments contact the Red Cross to help provide immediate assistance. These partnerships are essential to serving our community members affected by disasters.
Agustín and Judith Bernadino are among local residents who received support during Saturday’s Sound the Alarm event, where Red Cross volunteers and community partners information on the causes of home fires, what to do if a fire starts and how to create an escape plan.
“We appreciate that you [the Red Cross] bring safety to towns like these that need the information. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said Agustín, a Lost Hills resident for over 50 years.
This was the second Sound the Alarm event Danely Lopez participated in. Her first was last year in Delano. “I work in Lost Hills and I know some of these families, so it was a great experience to participate in Sound the Alarm again. I think I had the most fun with the little kids. I had a lot little kids come and do their family escape plan.” Her favorite moment was when a young girl went with the team to her neighbor’s house so that she could help her friend create their family escape plan too.
Volunteers shared that some homes they went into did not have any working smoke alarms in the home. That day, they were able to install 2-3 new, working smoke alarms in those homes. They were glad that they volunteered so that they could help the families be prepared in case a home fire happened.
Sometimes, residents have new or working smoke alarms in their homes. When this is the case, our volunteers will provide information on the causes of home fires, what to do if a fire starts and how to create an escape plan.
“As a Lost Hills community member, I would like to thank everybody that came out here that helps support my community. It really means a lot because I see I live with these people every day and to know that I hope because there’s a difference in my community by going into their homes, and protecting a family made me feel really nice. It’s just a wonderful experience,” shared first-time volunteer Yesenia. “Honestly, to know how you can make a difference and potentially save someone’s life — not only mine, but my neighbors, and my relatives. So this was a very moving experience.”
A special thank you goes to our partners in organizing this lifesaving event, The Wonderful Company and Lost Hills Community Center.
Home fires are heartbreakingly common. Together, we can change lives by providing vital support in the aftermath of a fire — and we can save lives by ensuring that families have working smoke alarms and a 2-minute escape plan.
This work is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from regional partners: Bank of the Sierra, California Resources Corporation, Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino and The Wonderful Company.