The American Red Cross in Connecticut is partnering with four communities across the state for the first-ever Red Cross Install-A-Thon, part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries.

During the week-long event, scheduled for four communities in Connecticut and one in Rhode Island in March, Red Cross workers will be joined by the members of the local Fire Department and community volunteers to visit homes throughout the city. They will share fire safety and preparedness information and install free smoke alarms in homes as requested. Among the program goals is to install 1,200 free smoke alarms in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Participating cities in the Install-A-Thon include Torrington on March 6: Norwalk on March 7; New Britain on March 8 and New London on March 10. Volunteers will help families understand the importance of fire safety and help them develop personalized family escape plans to use in case a fire breaks out in their home.  A similar effort took place in New Haven in January.

“Home fires are the biggest disaster threat faced in the U.S.,” said Mario Bruno, CEO, American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region. “Our goal is to reach as many homes as we can with this program to help ensure people know what to do and are prepared in the event they experience a home fire. We know that for every 1,000 smoke alarms the Red Cross installs, one life is saved. Our goal is to save at least one life as a result of our Install-A-Thon.”

Sixty percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms, officials indicated. This campaign is in direct response to that threat. The Red Cross is committing to install 2.5 million free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires, and to educate those residents about fire prevention and preparedness.

As of August 2016, the Red Cross and partners have saved at least 100 lives as part of this campaign, according to officials. Since the program began, the Connecticut and Rhode Island Region of the Red Cross has installed more than 10,000 smoke alarms between the two states.

Individuals interested in having representatives visit their homes to have free smoke alarms  should make an appointment via the websites www.redcross.org/ct/schedule-a-visit or by calling 1-877-287-3327.

In addition to providing free smoke alarm installations and education, the Red Cross is looking for volunteers to help install the alarms, and to educate and provide safety information for this event and in their community throughout the year. Home Fire Campaign Volunteers are trained by the Red Cross, can volunteer during the day or on weekends and can help make a difference in their community. For more information on volunteering visit: https://volunteerconnection.redcross.org/?nd=vms_public_form&form_id=1078.

The Red Cross Install-A-Thon is made possible, in part, due to a grant from the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation. Since October 2014, the Red Cross has worked with fire departments and community groups across the country as part of a multi-year campaign to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Home fires remain the biggest disaster threat to individuals and families in the United States.

Red Cross officials point out that residents who reside outside the Install-A-Thon cities can always make an appointment for a free Red Cross fire safety visit and free smoke alarms at any time. The program is free and open to anyone in Connecticut.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches life-saving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization, depending on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

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