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Louisiana News

Louisiana Red Cross to 'Sound the Alarm' in May

As the Louisiana Region of the American Red Cross prepares to kick off its Sound the Alarm campaign on Thursday, May 5 in Shreveport, its executive director for the North Louisiana Chapter called on residents to take part in the lifesaving initiative to help their neighbors.

Alongside community partners, Red Cross volunteers and staff members will go door-to-door to install free smoke alarms and provide home fire safety education as part of the month-long campaign, which includes six events in Shreveport and one each in Alexandria, Monroe, and Bastrop.

Enthusiasm around this year’s campaign is heightened after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted in-home smoke alarm installations for the past two years, said Karen McCoy, Executive Director of the Louisiana Red Cross North Louisiana Chapter.

“We’re beyond excited to host Sound the Alarm again in North Louisiana,” McCoy said. “Working smoke alarms can give someone precious time to escape from a burning home. We know this work has saved lives and will continue to do so, and so we invite everyone to join us in this fulfilling mission to make our neighborhoods safer.”

Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half.

Shreveport is one of 50 signature cities nationwide included in the American Red Cross’ goal to install 50,000 free smoke alarms with partners across the country. A second signature city in Louisiana is Hammond, where five events are scheduled.

Locals – both volunteers and staff – carry out the Sound the Alarm campaign, and everyone is welcome to participate, even those who are not yet Red Cross volunteers. Duties include installing smoke alarms, providing fire safety education, helping families perfect their escape plans, packing bags, coordinating teams, taking photographs, and more.

“We have something for anyone who wants to volunteer with the Red Cross,” McCoy said. “No matter your skills or experience, I’m confident we have a role for you.”

Aside from six events in Shreveport, Red Crossers will also visit neighborhoods in Alexandria (May 10), Monroe (May 12), and Bastrop (May 20). Five other events are scheduled for Hammond in Southeastern Louisiana, bringing the statewide total to 14. A full calendar of North Louisiana events is below.

This work is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from regional partners: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Cleco Power, and Jefferson Parish.

“We're proud to support Red Cross as they resume Sound the Alarm smoke alarm installations for the first time since the pandemic," said Michael Tipton, head of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Community Relations and president of the Blue Cross Foundation. "After the stress of the past two years, it's important for Louisianians to feel safe and protected in their homes. Knowing they have a functioning smoke alarm and other resources to prevent fires will go a long way toward peace of mind. And, we appreciate the efforts of all the volunteers giving their time to go door to door and make this possible."

Register now at SoundTheAlarm.org/Louisiana to install free smoke alarms and share fire safety information with residents during local Sound the Alarm events, including May 5 in Shreveport (the full list of North Louisiana events is below). No prior experience is needed. Training will be provided.

Because of generous donations, all services are free and available for people in need. Can’t join the event? Help by donating to the Red Cross at SoundTheAlarm.org/Louisiana to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from home fires — which account for most of the U.S. disasters that the Red Cross responds to every eight minutes.

These Sound the Alarm events are a critical part of the national Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, which has helped save at least 1,275 lives since launching in October 2014, including 27 throughout Louisiana. As part of the campaign in North Louisiana, the Red Cross and local partners have installed more than 7,500 free smoke alarms and made more than 4,100 households safer through its educational activities.

The North Louisiana Chapter of Red Cross will host nine Sound the Alarm events on May 5, 7, 11, 14, 18, and 21 in Shreveport, May 10 in Alexandria, May 12 in Monroe, and May 20 in Bastrop.

For more information on scheduled events, visit SoundTheAlarm.org/Louisiana.

To schedule an interview (video conference, telephone, or in-person) in advance of May 5, or to schedule an in-person interview or walk-along at an event, please contact Louisiana Red Cross Communications Director Tara Letort at tara.letort@redcross.org. These opportunities are open to reporters and photographers.

The American Red Cross shelters feed and provide comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members, and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross