Sound the Alarm to Save Lives: Ending Home Fires in Connecticut

Story By: Katie Kresic, American Red Cross

Photo By: Memo Alejandro, American Red Cross

American Red Cross volunteers installed nearly 900 smoke alarms into local homes in the Greater New Haven area during the annual Sound the Alarm, Save a Life event. The Red Cross is thrilled to announce they are joining forces with Cigna, The Hartford Yard Goats and The Hartford Fire Department to install 500 FREE smoke alarms in Hartford, Connecticut on 9/11. Get involved by visiting www.SoundThe and read below to learn all about a Sound the Alarm event!

Every day, the Red Cross responds to an average of two home fires in Connecticut. It is crucial

to be prepared for disaster at all times. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the risk of dying in a home fire by half! Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. is a nationwide initiative to install 100,000 smoke alarms in at-risk neighborhoods across the country in an effort to reduce the number of injuries and deaths due to home fires.

The American Red Cross Connecticut hosted its annual Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. event on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Red Cross volunteers, in partnership with the City of New Haven and the New Haven Fire Department, went door to door installing free smoke alarms into local homes in Greater New Haven. The event was a huge success, as we were able to install nearly 900 alarms in local homes in Connecticut and make 300 families safer!

“Every day, 36 people are injured and 7 people die on average in a home fire. We know that in about half of those fires there is no working smoke alarm. Installing smoke alarms is a very easy thing that we can do to save lives,” said Mario Bruno, CEO, American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region. “This is an amazing day in New Haven, and we hope to show the community that we are here to help.”

The Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. event was made possible through the generous support of companies like Amica Insurance Company, Cigna, The Connecticut Apartment Association, ConnectiCare and Wells Fargo.

 About Sound the Alarm

Throughout the day, Red Cross volunteers went to homes in Greater New Haven to install free smoke alarms and educate residents on fire safety. Volunteers of all experience levels, including those who first started their involvement with the Red Cross on this day, along with those who’ve been volunteering for years, came together to show support for their community.

“Making sure people have adequate protection in their homes is extremely important,” said Bill Shwartz, Red Cross volunteer. “Anybody can get smoke alarms for no charge from the Red Cross at any time.”

Screen Shot 2019-05-29 at 7.00.20 PM

Homeowner, Julie, signed up to have alarms installed in her own home. “Sound the Alarm helped me so much,” said Julie. The volunteers replaced my very old smoke alarms with new ones that will keep me safe for years.”

“I heard that the Red Cross was doing free installations,” said area resident Amanda Burke. “So, I started looking around my home, and realized we didn’t even have any smoke alarms on the main floor. To have somebody come in and take care of this for us is really helpful.”

Teamwork and Collaboration

 Other organizations also came out to support the Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. event in Greater New Haven, as well. A number of the volunteers are members of MIRA USA, which stands for Independent Movement for Absolute Renovation. MIRA is a non-profit organization affiliated with the American Red Cross.

Screen Shot 2019-05-29 at 7.00.27 PM“We’re very proud to partner with the American Red Cross, an organization known for its volunteerism and assistance of the community in a worldwide function,” said Melvin Gonzales, a member of MIRA. MIRA wants to show the community that we are interested in assisting organizations.”

“This was a collaborative effort. We worked together as a team,” said Monica Ortiz, another member of MIRA. “At the end of the day, it’s all about your community members and providing a service. It was a fantastic experience, and I look forward to doing more in the future.”

Home Fire Campaign

This year, more than 200 volunteers supported the Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. event in New Haven. The Home Fire Campaign doesn’t stop here! You can make an appointment with the American Red Cross at any time to have free smoke alarms installed in your home and be educated about fire safety. To make an appointment for a free home safety visit or to volunteer with the Red Cross visit

“Today, we helped out the community by creating a safer place for these properties,” said first-year Red Crosser, George from West Haven. “This is my very first time participating in Sound the Alarm, and I can’t wait to participate next year!”


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