By Alex Keilty
“I ran out of my house with slippers – that’s everything,” says Minh Tran. “I had nothing the next day.”
On a night in November 2019, a fire spread from Minh’s fireplace to engulf his home in Gilroy. While his family made it out alive, the house was totally destroyed.
Minh knows how close he came to losing his family and credits the house’s smoke alarms for saving their lives. “Without the alarm we might be dead,” he says.
Now as an American Red Cross Community Volunteer Leader, Minh is determined to raise awareness of the need to be prepared for home fires and other disasters.
“In this area we have earthquakes, wildfires, flooding, home fires, power outages,” Minh says. “From my experience of the fire, I know the need to be better prepared.”
Minh’s advice? Install working smoke alarms, make sure to have adequate home insurance, and keep a disaster kit ready to go.
“Everybody should have a disaster kit in the home – water and food for three days – so when disaster hits they can grab that bag and run,” says Minh.
Joining the Red Cross last year, he has been acting as a liaison with the Vietnamese community. Minh came to San José from Vietnam 28 years ago to reunite with his family and live in this area since.
This year, he helped recruit volunteers from his community for Sound the Alarm, a program of the Red Cross to provide home fire safety education and install free smoke alarms in local homes.
“Volunteering is fun and fulfilling,” he says. And he recommends more people from the Vietnamese community join him in furthering the Red Cross mission.
To find out more about volunteering for the Red Cross, please visit redcross.org.