'This will save your life:' Red Cross, Milwaukee Fire Dept. team up for 9th annual Sound the Alarm campaign

NOW: ’This will save your life:’ Red Cross, Milwaukee Fire Dept. team up for 9th annual Sound the Alarm campaign

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Seven people die every single day in America because of a house fire, according to the American Red Cross, but having a working smoke alarm can cut that number by about half.

That's why the Red Cross of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Fire Department are teaming up to fight fires before they begin with the ninth annual "Sound the Alarm" campaign.

The campaign runs on May 6 and volunteers will go house-to-house, installing and testing smoke alarms for free.

The entire process takes an average of 15 minutes total. 

“Sound the Alarm is one of my favorite things that we do because the reaction from the resident is always so positive," said ARC Regional Philanthropy Officer Kelly Clark. "I think they're just excited to have someone come and really check that they’re being safe in their home.”

Volunteers will be placed in teams of three -- with the first designated to actually install the alarm, the second designated to help residents plan viable escape routes in case of an emergency, and the third designated to fill out safety forms in either English or Spanish. 

“Often times people don’t think about what they would do in the moment when the fire is happening," said ARC Wisconsin Regional CEO Mark Thomas. "Many fires happen at night. You wake up out of a deep sleep, your house is on fire, what’s the first thing you do?”

Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski said the department responds to multiple house fire calls daily, including ones from single family homes, apartment complexes, and commercial industrial buildings.

With the help of the campaign, Lipski added that he hopes that number can be reduced.

“We’re putting our efforts where the greatest need is and where the greatest potential for positive impact is, and that’s what the Sound the Alarm campaign is all about," said Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski. “Your upstairs neighbor, your downstairs neighbor, your apartment neighbors next-door, if you keep a working smoke alarm, you might save their life as well.”

Since launching in 2014, Sound the Alarm has saved more than 1,700 lives nationwide -- including at least three in Wisconsin. 

Overall, millions of free smoke alarms have been installed, saving households across the country. 

But in order for the campaign to continue being successful, organizers said they are in need of those volunteers to make a difference.

Sound the Alarm will go from 8:30 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m. and start at the Milwaukee Safety Academy. 

If you want to help out, you don't need to have any prior experience. Training, breakfast, and lunch will also be provided.

For details on how to become a volunteer or to schedule a free smoke alarm installation, click here

Sponsors include Johnson Controls, the We Energies Foundation, and the Brewers Community Foundation. 

Share this article: