Story: Sue Toomey, American Red Cross
Photos: Susan Fisher Plotner, For American Red Cross
The American Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disaster each year, the majority of which are home fires. In Connecticut, the local Red Cross responds to an average of two home fires per day.
In a continued nationwide event to reduce this number and save lives, on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, the Red Cross in Connecticut held it’s Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. event in Hartford, as part of a 9-11 Day of Service event.
Forty teams, including volunteers from the Red Cross, MIRA USA and CIGNA assembled together at Pope Park. Opening remarks were given by Connecticut and Rhode Island CEO Mario Bruno who thanked all the volunteers for attending the event.
Hartford Fire Chief Reginald Friedman then spoke and thanked the volunteers for attending, especially on a day of memorial when so many lives were lost, and how happy he was to participate in this event with the Red Cross. “When communities come together, it saves lives.”
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin also spoke to the crowd and praised the fire department. “We are so grateful for all you do and the lives you save.” To the volunteers he said, “This is an important way to stand together as a community and as a country to observe this day and to honor those lost.”
Regional Disaster Officer Neil Brockway gave the teams some last minute instructions and the teams went out to install free smoke alarms and provide fire safety training to area residents.
Ai Nguyen, who moved to Hartford only recently, just happened to be walking by Pope Park in Hartford. He noticed all the Red Cross workers and vehicles assembling in the parking lot and went in to see if he could help.
“I lived in Louisiana when Katrina hit,” he said. “We were three blocks from the ocean
and the town was destroyed. I eventually made my way to Florida and the Red Cross was there to help me find food, clothing and shelter. They helped me a lot and it’s an honor for me to help here today, especially on 9-11.”
By the end of the day, 541 alarms were installed in 191 homes, making the Hartford area safer from the risk of fire. If you or someone you know would like a free Red Cross home fire safety visit, visit www.soundthealarm.org/connecticut.