Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Grad Student Majoring in Disaster Preparedness Prepares at Home

By Kelly Wheeler

Kristen Elzey
As a grad student at the University of Denver, Kristen Elzey is well-versed on the impact of disasters on victims -- her master's program is dedicated to trauma-focused clinical psychology. Yet when Kristen decided to become a Red Cross volunteer, she realized she was not prepared for a potential disaster in her own home.

After learning through Red Cross training that on average seven people die every day from a home fire and that smoke alarms cut the risk of death from a fire in half, Kristen decided to take advantage of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, whose goal is to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25% by the end of 2019. Kristen did not have working smoke detectors in her rented Denver home, so Red Cross volunteers installed four alarms, which only took half an hour. This simple act has brought peace of mind to both Kristen and her roommate, a Denver Public School teacher.

Kristen says her work at the Red Cross as a ROC volunteer has been incredibly rewarding and she looks forward to performing disaster preparedness for refugees in the near future with a volunteer team in Colorado. Certainly her degree in international disaster psychology will well-equip her to help others in need both here and abroad.

You can help others in need of smoke alarms like Kristen by volunteering with the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign on May 14. Learn more.

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