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American Red Cross
News Release
Friday, January 12, 2018

Red Cross MLK Day of Service to Sound the Alarm on Fire Safety
More than 200 smoke alarms to be installed in Historic Third Ward

HOUSTON, Texas — The American Red Cross of the Greater Houston Area will be part of the Red Cross nationwide effort to install smoke alarms in homes over the upcoming weekend surrounding the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK), Jr. Day of Service. The project is part of ongoing Red Cross Sound the Alarm installation events.

Although the national holiday is on January 15, more than 200 alarms will be installed in the Historic Third Ward neighborhood on January 13 to honor the life of Doctor King. Volunteer partners from Houston CERT, Bellaire High School Red Cross Club, STAGE stores and AmeriCORPS will join the Red Cross Disaster and Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) teams to visit homes in the Historic Third Ward area, install free smoke alarms where needed and offer critical home fire prevention safety tips to residents.

In the first nine days of the new year, the American Red Cross responded to nearly 60 percent more home fires than in 2017.

After a home fire, a Red Cross volunteer is often among the first on the scene – offering emotional support, helping those affected to find a place to stay and assisting with recovery.

“The need for home fire safety and preparedness is more critical than ever,” said Ebony Fowler, Disaster Program Specialist for the American Red Cross Greater Houston. “Third Ward is one of the highest fire call areas in the City of Houston. Our goal is to make the community safer by canvasing 800 homes in the neighborhood, distributing fire safety information, installing free smoke alarms and replacing batteries in existing alarms.”

The Red Cross has several volunteer opportunities available and an urgent need for Spanish-speaking volunteers. If you are interested in supporting this effort, please see the details below:

Date: Saturday, January 13

Rally Point: Parking lot of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University.

Texas Southern University

3100 Cleburne Street

Houston, TX 77004

General public registration link:


8:00 a.m.  Set up: breakfast, sign in tables, materials to be distributed, banners, sound systems, etc.

8:30 to 9:15 a.m. Volunteers arrive, start sign ups and breakfast.

9:15 to 9:45 a.m. Welcome volunteers and notable attendees/speakers, provide training and address any safety concerns or issues.

9:45 a.m. Dismiss volunteers to canvass or install smoke alarms.

10:00 a.m. Begin activities for individuals that may not be able to canvass. Examples: Water Distribution, Thank you cards etc.

11:15 a.m. Begin set up for lunch.

11:45 a.m. Volunteers return to report results, start serving lunch.

12:15 p.m. Good news, results sharing and interest stories. (additional speaker opportunity)

12:30 p.m. Dismiss volunteers.

12:30 to 1:00 p.m. Clean up.

*Please note that overall start times can shift based on area’s needs.

Notable attendees/speakers:

Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee

Council Member Dwight Boykins

HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVES 332 LIVES The Red Cross responds to as many as 64,000 disasters every year and most of these are home fires. Sadly, seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire.

To combat these statistics, the Red Cross launched its Home Fire Campaign in 2014, focusing on installing free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching people about fire safety. Since the start of the campaign, the Red Cross and partners have installed more than 1 million smoke alarms and helped to save 332 lives.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. If someone would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross, a United Way agency, shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross


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