The American Red Cross has picked Paterson as New Jersey’s signature city in its Sound the Alarm campaign, a nationwide effort to improve home fire safety throughout the Untied States by installing 100,000 free smoke alarms in a two-week period in spring 2020.
Volunteers will push to install 5,000 free smoke alarms in Paterson. Initially, the American Red Cross proposed to install 1,900 smoke alarms, but the group gave in to a challenge from mayor Andre Sayegh.
“We are elated to be selected as New Jersey’s Signature City,” said Sayegh. “This partnership with the American Red Cross is a lifesaving initiative. We want to make sure that the residents of the City of Paterson are safe in their homes and the installation of smoke alarms through the Sound the Alarm campaign will do just that.”
Sayegh thanked the American Red Cross for picking Paterson as a signature city. 30,000 volunteers will work in 100 American cities with a high risk of home fires next year.
“Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of fatalities in a home fire by 50 percent,” said Rosie Taravella, chief executive officer for the American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “Each day, Red Cross volunteers care for neighbors devastated by home fires, and we want to prevent needless tragedies from these disasters.”
Indeed, when residents are displaced by fires, the American Red Cross steps in to provide temporary lodging and other necessities.
Sayegh and Taravella made the announcement at the Paterson Fire Headquarters on Tuesday morning. Hometown football star Victor Cruz and rapper Fetty Wap lent their star power to the campaign.
Besides installing free smoke alarms, the American Red Cross also provides steps to increase survival in a fire:
- Have a fire escape plan that includes two ways to escape each room and designate a meeting spot to reunite after the escape.
- Practice the fire escape plan until every family member can get out in under two minutes.
- If there are no smoke alarms then install them. At bare minimum have one on every level of the home, including inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
- Test alarms today to ensure they work. If they do not, replace them.
The effort is funded by donors, including PSEG, a key supporter of the Red Cross’s Home Fire Campaign since 2014. The firm has also supplied manpower for installation events throughout New Jersey.
The American Red Cross is seeking volunteers for its April 2020 effort in Paterson. It is urging community groups and organizations to invite their members to join volunteer teams to canvass Paterson neighborhoods to install free smoke and assist families in creating fire escape plans.
Interested groups should email NJSTA2020Paterson@redcross.org.