Saturday, September 20, 2014

Red Cross Volunteers Saving Lives with Home Fire Safety Campaign

A warm Saturday morning and Pueblo volunteers got an early start in their effort to canvas neighborhoods on the southeast side. The canvassing is part of an effort to provide free smoke alarms in areas that have had a history of fatalities caused by home fires. The Pueblo volunteers partnered with volunteers from Loaf’N Jug to go door-to-door to let people know the importance of smoke alarms and how people can get free alarms installed just by making a phone call.

Canvassing team L-R Peggy McCowen, Bob McCowen,
Bob Russel. Loaf'nJug volunteers Charles Ghan and
Jody Hale
Barbara Shufelt is the Disaster Program Specialist for the Red Cross in Pueblo and did the coordination for the canvassing effort. “Our goal is to save lives,” Shufelt said. “The Pueblo Fire Department has joined the Red Cross in this effort. They have the smoke alarms and we are helping with the safety education piece.”

Volunteer Bob Russell(r) talks with Bill Santistevan in Pueblo
about home fire safety and free smoke alarms
The smoke alarm project is part of a national multi-year campaign by the American Red Cross hoping to reduce lives caused by home fires. Research has shown that having multiple working smoke alarms in your home will improve your chances of surviving a home fire by fifty percent.

Bill Santistevan, who lives on 5th Street in Pueblo, met the volunteers on his front porch with a welcome smile. He has one smoke alarm in his home but knows he should have more. “I have trouble hearing so with only one smoke alarm I might not hear it,” Santistevan said. “This will help me a lot because I can’t afford to buy more.” Safety information and information about how to contact the Pueblo Fire Department were provided to him and he vowed to call the Pueblo Fire Department that same day.

Peggy McCowen(r) hands safety information to Janet Wilson
while canvassing for home fire safety in Pueblo
During the canvassing they also met with Janet Wilson, director of the OTR-Foundation that is working to improve the neighborhood. Janet was happy to see the Red Cross going door-to-door in the neighborhood and added, “I know that these people will appreciate what you are trying to do to make them a little safer.” Janet agreed to spread the word about the free smoke alarm campaign.

The Pueblo volunteers will be canvassing again on Saturday, October 4. They will team up again with additional Loaf’N Jug volunteers to cover a larger area. “This is a multi-year project and we have a lot of territory to cover,” Shufelt said. “We’ll do it house-by-house and street-by-street and hopefully save lives in the process.”

To learn more about home fire safety go online to To be part of the home fire safety campaign become a Red Cross volunteer.

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