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Monday, January 19, 2015

What did you do on 2015 MLK Day of Service?


By Bill Fortune/American Red Cross
Photo by Curtis Lovett/American Red Cross

Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Life’s most persistent question is: What are you doing for others?”

Volunteer Warren Roh (R) shows a smoke alarm to
9 month old Reagen Landiss in Colorado Springs.
On MLK Day, Americans across the country come together for a day of service, picking up the baton handed to us by past generations and carrying forward their efforts.  That is what happened in Colorado Springs on MLK Day as Red Cross volunteers joined with cadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy to install smoke alarms.

Four teams spread out across the area on a cool morning armed with smoke alarms and headed to Woodland Park, Black Forest and Peyton, as well as, several locations in Colorado Springs. The teams installed smoke alarms in 14 homes that had requested alarms based on a previous canvassing effort. Each home received 3 smoke alarms. They also received a home fire inspection and educational material to help them be better prepared for home fires and other emergencies.

 “This is a blessing,” said Brittany Landess who is the mother of three small children. “I feel so much better knowing that my children are just a little safer.” As the team was about to leave the Landess home five year old Branson stopped one of the Red Cross installers to make sure they had included an alarm for his baby brother.  “I want him to be safe, too,” he said.

The smoke alarm installations were part of the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign that is a 5-year effort to reduce fatalities caused by home fires by twenty-five percent over the next five years. In just the past few months, the Red Cross has already reached more than 36,000 people by installing more than 21,000 smoke alarms. Recent studies suggest that by having a working smoke alarm in your home you can improve your chance of survival by 50 percent.

Home fires occur with startling regularity in America and the American Red Cross responds to each one with the goal of alleviating the suffering brought on by a home fire. Disaster volunteers work closely with the families that have been displaced to help them with immediate needs like clothing, food and shelter. They also work to provide emotional and medical support if needed.

To find out more about home fire safety and the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign visit www.redcross.org.

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