Central Coast teams install 175 free smoke alarms in Seaside homes


“Sound the Alarm” volunteers are shown in Seaside during the Central Coast Chapter’s installation of free smoke alarms in that city. (Photo by Russell Cole. Click here for a full-size image.)

On average, home fires kill 7 people and injure another 36 — every single day in the United States. That’s why the American Red Cross launched its nationwide Home Fire Campaign in 2014 with the goal of reducing the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent.

A key component of the campaign is a series of “Sound the Alarm – Save a Life” events in which Red Cross volunteers, working with local fire departments and other partners, visit high-risk neighborhoods to offer to install free smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms, and help families create escape plans. It is believed that the “Sound the Alarm” neighborhood visits have already saved more than 500 lives throughout the United States since the Home Fire Campaign began.

On Saturday, January 26, a Sound the Alarm event took place in the city of Seaside. That day, the American Red Cross of the Central Coast visited 69 homes in a 24-block area in the city, installing 175 free smoke alarms.

The volunteer teams also provided in-home fire and earthquake preparedness education during the home visits in that community, said Helen Cosentino, a Disaster Program Specialist for the local Red Cross chapter.

“A total of 36 volunteers made up 12 teams that conducted the home visits,” Cosentino said. “Because of volunteers’ great work that day, the 229 people who live in those homes are now much safer.”

In addition to Red Cross volunteers, the teams were supported by volunteers from UC Santa Cruz (the Rotaract youth club), from CERV (Community Emergency Response Volunteers), and from Seaside High School, Cosentino added. “We also received tremendous support from the Seaside Fire Department, which hosted us at their main station, joined our teams between emergency calls, and even generously donated breakfast and lunch for the volunteers. We are very grateful for the partnership we have with Fire Chief Brian Dempsey and members of his department.”

In addition to organizing local Sound the Alarm events, the American Red Cross of the Central Coast is also offering the installation of free smoke alarms and educational visits on an appointment basis throughout Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties. If you would like free smoke alarms installed in your home, please use one of the following options to schedule an appointment: