Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Protecting Families One Alarm at a Time

By Amanda Rothenberg, American Red Cross Intern

Red Cross volunteers, Greg Jones and Lourdes Carrera, pose for a picture before a day of work
As part of our #GetAlarmedNYC initiative, American Red Cross volunteers went door to door throughout Jackson Heights to install free smoke alarms on Saturday December 5. #GetAlarmedNYC, in partnership with the FDNY, is meant to reduce home fire deaths and teach families about the importance of fire safety. Among those who received smoke alarms were Sangeeta Roy and Alexander Gonzales. After the installation they sat down with us to describe the significance of our visit. 


Roy, Carrera and Jones share a moment after the installation of her new smoke alarms.

Q: You had some smoke alarms but they don’t work?

Roy: “My home has none, I had some but they were beeping, they were malfunctioning, and I knew they served no purpose.”


Q: What inspired you to get a smoke alarm?

Roy: “I really wanted the Red Cross to come because I was really concerned about safety for my family… I have a very large family, my mom, my husband, children, brother, sisters.”

Q: What triggered this decision to get a smoke alarm installed?

Roy: “Seeing the news, seeing how many people lost their lives because of not having fire alarms, there were so many innocent lives that were gone, and I know that it was something I didn’t want for myself, for my family.”

Carrera talks fire safety with Gonzales and his two children.
Alexander Gonzales also made the decision to protect his family by installing smoke alarms. 

Q: How did you hear about this?

Gonzales: “I was at the kids’ PTA meeting and someone from the Red Cross came to the meeting and told us about how they were installing free smoke alarms and since I have the kids here in the apartment, I thought it was important for me to get the smoke detector. So I think it was wonderful that they came to the school because I really never thought about it, about having a smoke detector or making sure the ones I have are working.”

Q: We hear stories about tragedies involving homes without a smoke alarm, any thoughts on that?

Gonzales: “Yes, I have been seeing on the news about people dying because of fire, and I think it's great what the Red Cross is doing. If they hadn’t come to the school, I really wouldn't have thought about having [a smoke detector], and the guy explained to us why it was important. It’s very important not only for the kids but for everybody… it’s a way to save lives."

Q: Any message for the Red Cross volunteers?

Gonzales: “I was looking on the website and I saw about the volunteers. I thought the people who were working were part of the Red Cross, I didn’t know it was people in the community involved in this... I really thank you on behalf of my community for being here, to make sure that we are safe and that my kids are safe, and that everyone else’s kids are safe, I think they’re doing a wonderful job and it’s greatly appreciated.”

Roy left us with a parting remark, in regards to the Red Cross volunteers. “My message to these wonderful people, who have come to give their time their patience and their efforts in serving me and my family and helping to save our lives in the future. I want to thank them graciously for their continued work for the people of this country. Thank you for your time and patience.”

To make a smoke alarm installation, to volunteer, or for more information, visit our website or call 877-RedCross.

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