American Red Cross's "Sound the Alarm" program invites churches to volunteer


In 2014, the American Red Cross launched a new program called Sound the Alarm. The program is intended to reduce the number of deaths caused by home fires, which disproportionately affect children and the elderly. Statistics show that every day, an average of seven people die in home fires. Sound the Alarm is designed to improve these odds and save lives. 

Rev. Michael Dunbar, who serves Cedar Hill UMC in Leesburg and is a Red Cross registered volunteer, believes this is a unique opportunity for churches. "This program gives churches a wonderful reason to be out in the community," he said. "We should always be looking for a chance to be in our neighborhoods, knock on doors, and connect with the Red Cross in regard to disasters." Rev. Dunbar, who recently moved to North Alabama, was Disaster Response Coordinator in the North Georgia Conference for several years. 

A critical part of the campaign is a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across the country. Together with fire departments and other community partners, Red Cross volunteers:

  • Canvass at-risk neighborhoods
  • Install free smoke alarms
  • Replace batteries in existing alarms
  • Provide fire prevention and safety education
In the three years since the program was implemented, home visits have accomplished much, including the installation of more than 1 million smoke alarms and educating millions of people against home fires. In Alabama alone, many lives are being saved through Sound the Alarm. “The Alabama Red Cross has been able to save 19 lives so far through our Home Fire Campaign," according to Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer Marc Newell. "The upcoming Sound the Alarm event will hopefully bolster this number.” 

The American Red Cross will be installing 100,000 free smoke alarms and invites churches to volunteer to serve on any of the three teams set to canvass in the Birmingham area:
  • April 28 in the Bessemer community
  • May 5 in the Tarrant and Center Point communities
Click here to volunteer in Bessemer. 
Click here to volunteer in Tarrant.
Click here to volunteer in Center Point.

If you would like more information or already know that this opportunity will be a great fit for your group, you may contact the local Volunteer Specialist, Emerald Autrey, at or 205-704-1777.

Photo courtesy of The American Red Cross.

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