Guest Column

Red Cross and Partners Save 18 Lives in New Jersey Through Home Fire Campaign

On Tuesday, March 21, representatives of the American Red Cross, the City of Orange Township and members of the Milord family announced 18 lives were saved by a Home Fire Campaign smoke alarm. Credits: Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross

When a fire broke out in the Milord family’s Orange, New Jersey home, free smoke alarms installed by the American Red Cross and partners through the Home Fire Campaign alerted the family to the danger, giving them enough time to safely escape the blaze.

In the early morning hours of November 8, 2016, as the Milord family slept, a fire was quietly burning in the basement of their Ridge Street home. Just before 5:00 a.m., Madeleine Milord and her brother Claude Milord were awakened by the sound of a smoke alarm. Claude and Madeline woke up their loved ones and helped all in the family of 17, along with a friend staying with them for the night, escape from the burning home.  

“Fortunately, the Milord family was able to escape unharmed thanks to working smoke alarms,” said Ana Montero, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region.  “Smoke alarms save lives and through the Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross and our community partners continue to help protect families from home fires.”

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Home fires kill more people in an average year than every other domestic natural disaster combined. To help combat this problem, the American Red Cross has launched a multi-year Home Fire Campaign that aims to reduce home fire-related deaths and injuries by 25 percent by 2020. To date, 197 lives have been saved nationally as the result of the campaign, including the 18 in New Jersey.

In April of 2015, volunteers from the Red Cross, City of Orange Township Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) visited the Milord family’s home during a Home Fire Campaign canvassing event. The volunteers installed free smoke alarms and helped the Milords create a family fire escape plan.

The Milord family credits the working smoke alarms installed during the visit by the Red Cross and partners for their safe escape.

Since the launch of the Home Fire Campaign in 2014, the Red Cross New Jersey Region and its community partners have canvassed more than 25,000 homes in 131 municipalities throughout the state, helped 7,200 families create a fire escape plan, and installed more than 17,000 free smoke alarms in homes like the Milords.

SOUND THE ALARM. SAVE A LIFE. Continuing its efforts to help protect families from home fires, the American Red Cross is planning Sound the Alarm. Save a Life., a large-scale, nationwide initiative during Fire Prevention Month in October.

Working together in communities across the nation, the Red Cross, fire departments, businesses, schools, nonprofits, neighborhood leaders and others are mobilizing resources and volunteers to stamp out needless fire deaths. Volunteers and partners will canvass neighborhoods, install free smoke alarms and deliver fire safety information in places known to have a high amount of home fires.

“We ask communities throughout New Jersey to please join us as we sound the alarm this October and bring this important fire safety initiative to all 21 counties in 21 days,” Montero said. “From smoke alarm installers to fire safety educators, there are a variety of volunteer opportunities for people to get involved with this lifesaving campaign.”

For more information about Sound the Alarm. Save a Life in New Jersey and how to get involved, people can visit

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


About the American Red Cross in New Jersey 
The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 5,300 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey, last year, the Red Cross responded to more than 760 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping more than 1,800 displaced families; collected more than 89,100 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided more than 3,500 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained more than 116,100 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @NJRedCross.


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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