The Power of Collaboration: Home Fire Campaign

The Home Fire Campaign has been a popular topic in relation to the American Red Cross this year. The campaign seeks to reduce home fire related deaths and injuries by 25% over the next five years. Since October 2015, the Red Cross of Ventura County has hosted four events and installed over 430 free smoke alarms in residents’ homes.

The results are impressive, but what stands out for me is the positive impact the campaign is having on our community as a whole. When the campaign was launched last year, the following objectives were put in place:alexblog1

Three of these objectives focus on the importance of unified community efforts.  Based on my experience as a lead coordinator in Ventura, I can proudly say that our success would not be made possible without the dedicated Red Cross volunteers and outside organization partners.

On June 6th, 2015, 30 volunteers joined the Red Cross and the Oxnard City Fire Department for the fourth Home Fire Campaign in the county.  More than half of these individuals represented groups other than the Red Cross; a major contributor being Naval Base Ventura County. As the day progressed (and with the help of a little caffeine), these strangers became friends. Working side by side to install alarms, create disaster response plans, and teach prevention education, bonds were forged and memories made.

home fire campaign smoke alarm installation
Red Cross and Naval volunteer installing smoke alarms for a new mother in Oxnard

“I had a very enjoyable time and many of the other naval base members have communicated similar feedback since. The event offered an opportunity to meet new people, learn valuable information, but also share in making a difference for those in need,” said Naval Officer Cody Brissey.

Anyone who has ever worked in public service, community outreach and event planning understands that there is power in numbers. An impressive 188 smoke alarms were installed on June 6th. A number of factors influenced these results, but the main one is collaboration. The quote, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together,” exemplifies the heart of the Home Fire Campaign. Alone, the Red Cross would not be able to make such a tremendous impact.

Other community partners that have joined our efforts include My Safe LA, 1-800 Board Up, Ventura County Star Newspaper, Ventura City Fire Department, Ventura County Fire Department, County Emergency Response Team (CERT) members, and local high school clubs. As word of the campaign spreads, we are delighted to see an increase in participation interest.

Red Cross volunteers who canvassed neighborhoods to install smoke alarms as part of the Home Fire Campaign
“All smiles even after a long day of volunteering” –Volunteers from June 6th

A strong community recognizes needs and works together to fix them; neighbors’ helping neighbors each step of the way. The Home Fire Campaign still has four years left, but based off our initial success, I am confident national goals will be met with ease.

Alexandria Almeida
AmeriCorps NPRC 2014-2015
Disaster Program Coordinator
American Red Cross of Ventura County

10 Tips for Fireworks Safety This Fourth of July

Fourth_of_July_fireworks_behind_the_Washington_Monument,_1986Happy Birthday, America! Tomorrow is your special day and we’re planning to celebrate with friends, good barbecue, and fireworks.

But we here at the Red Cross want to make sure that everyone in Central California celebrates safely and responsibly. So while you’re enjoying an ice cold beverage and lighting some Piccolo Petes, we want you to keep a few safety tips in mind:

1. Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.

2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.

3. Make sure the person lighting the fireworks is wearing eye protection.

4. Only light one firework at a time and never attempt to relight a “dud.”

5. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

6. Never point or throw a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials.

7. Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

8. Make sure your fireworks displays are in a cleared area, away from foliage or other objects that can easily catch fire.

9. Make sure you’re aware of fireworks restrictions for your community.

And lastly, make sure you have fun! From all of us here at the Red Cross…

Happy-4th-of-July-Animated-3

Jessica Piffero
Regional Director of Communications