100th Red Cross Home Fire Campaign smoke alarm installed


For the Press and Standard

With the support of community partners, the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign has achieved its goal of installing 2.5 million free smoke alarms and making 1 million households safer across the country, including more than 100,000 alarms in South Carolina.
Since launching in October 2014, the campaign has saved at least 1,583 lives nationwide — including 106 lives in South Carolina. This is significant, as home fires claim seven lives every day in the U.S. These tragedies most often occur in homes without working smoke alarms, which can cut the risk of death from a home fire in half.
“We are proud of our incredible work alongside Fire Safe SC, local fire departments, and community partners to help save lives by providing free smoke alarms in South Carolina as part of the national Home Fire Campaign,” said Rod Tolbert, CEO of the American Red Cross of South Carolina. “This amazing effort has been made possible by every volunteer, donor, and supporter who teamed up to care for vulnerable families in our state.”
Home fires account for most of the more than 60,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to annually in South Carolina and across the country. So far, in 2023, Red Cross volunteers have already helped more than 1,240 people affected by more than 400 home fires in South Carolina by providing emergency lodging, financial assistance for urgent needs like food and clothing, and one-on-one recovery support for navigating the next steps and connecting with community resources. This work is made possible thanks to financial donations from generous regional partners.
In South Carolina, Red Cross volunteers, Fire Safe SC, local fire departments, and other community partners:
Installed more than 104,000 free smoke alarms
Made nearly 30,000 households safer
Educated nearly 16,000 children through youth preparedness programs
Red Cross volunteers respond to an average of six home fires every day across the state
“We are excited to recognize this achievement, and we will continue to work together, especially since alarms initially installed are nearing the end of their 10-year lifespan. Sustaining our efforts depends on the engagement of local fire and community partners to replace and increase the number of homes with working smoke alarms,” said S.C. State Fire Chief Josh Fulbright. “Today, fire is hotter and faster than in the past due to modern furnishings. Working smoke alarms, practicing a home fire escape plan, closing bedroom doors when you sleep, and designating an outdoor safe meeting place can increase your ability to escape should a home fire occur.”

Because home fires remain a daily threat and the campaign has made a lifesaving difference, the Red Cross will be continuing the program with community partners as part of its standard services
Help save lives through the campaign by becoming a volunteer or making a financial donation to prepare, respond and help families recover from home fires. Visit RedCross.org/SC to register to volunteer. No prior experience is needed. Training will be provided before volunteer teams visit area homes to install smoke alarms and share fire safety information during smoke alarm blitz events.
In addition, the campaign’s other services will continue, such as teaching children about the threat of home fires through youth preparedness programs, installing accessible fire safety equipment like bed shaker alarms for residents who are deaf or hard of hearing, and providing home fire safety resources in American Sign Language.
You can also help your family by testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your two-minute home fire escape plan. Additional safety tips are available at redcross.org/fire and on the free Red Cross Emergency app (search «American Red Cross» in mobile app stores).
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or on Twitter at @RedCross
SC State Fire is also known as the SC Division of Fire and Life Safety, which is a division of the SC Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
Mandy McMahon is the media contact at the American Red Cross. She can be reached at 864-323-2575, or: mandy.mcmahon@redcross.org