The American Red Cross in Western Pennsylvania responds to approximately 700 disasters each year. Most often, these disasters are home fires which result in damage or loss to property, related injuries and even sometimes death. This summer, the local Red Cross is partnering with the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire to increase fire safety and prevention in local neighborhoods.
The partnership will officially kick off this new initiative, the Smoke Alarm and Fire Education (SAFE) program, on Saturday, June 22 with a community awareness event. Be SAFE day will be held at the Kingsley Center located at 6435 Frankstown Avenue in East Liberty. The day will commence at 10 a.m., and will host a City fire truck and firefighters, as well as representatives from the local Red Cross. The event will include seven informational stations, an educational obstacle course, prizes for the home and a poster contest for children.
“SAFE was developed to better prepare community members for fire-related emergencies,” said Patricia Waldinger, CEO of the local Red Cross in Western Pennsylvania. “Through this program, the Red Cross is able to put vital tools and information into the hands of Pittsburgh residents.”
SAFE aims to heighten fire prevention awareness and create safer Pittsburgh communities with a three-pronged approach. The program includes canvassing various fire-prone Pittsburgh neighborhoods to distribute educational materials, hosting community awareness days and distributing free smoke detectors in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire.
Pittsburgh residences with nonfunctioning detectors or without detectors are eligible to receive them, including installation by City firefighters, by accessing RedCross.org/WPASAFE or signing up at the Be SAFE events. Thanks to the generous support from Sunnyside Supply, the local Red Cross will provide the Bureau of Fire with alarms to supplement their existing Smoke Detector Program supply.
The detectors supplied by the Red Cross will be given to city neighborhoods that have experienced a high number of fires in the past few years, as previously identified by Red Cross and City officials. Identified areas include East Liberty, Beltzhoover and Hazelwood as well as the surrounding communities.
On Saturday, June 15, teams of Red Cross staff and volunteers canvassed the Highland Park, East Liberty, Larimer and Homewood neighborhoods, distributing fire safety materials and invitations to the Be SAFE day. The teams reached nearly 200 residences, providing community members with the proper first steps to safeguard their homes.
SAFE plans to continue these efforts to educate and prepare citizens in Pittsburgh and throughout Western Pennsylvania.
For more information on SAFE or to learn more about the importance of fire prevention, visit RedCross.org/WPASAFE.