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Red Cross and Partners Install 14,000 Free Smoke Alarms in New Jersey Homes

Volunteers with the American Red Cross, Trenton Fire and Emergency Services, PSEG, Church & Dwight Co., Inc. and Signature Information Solutions prepare to canvass neighborhoods in Trenton. Credits: Erica Viviani
A Trenton firefighter installs a free smoke alarm during an Octobers 25 Home Fire Campaign canvassing event. Credits: Erica Viviani

PSEG supports Home Fire Campaign with donation and volunteers

PRINCETON, NJ – The American Red Cross is joining together with municipalities, fire departments and community groups to reduce home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Since the launch of the multi-year Home Fire Campaign nationwide in October 2014, the Red Cross New Jersey Region and its local partners have installed more than 14,000 free smoke alarms in homes throughout New Jersey. 

Through the campaign, the Red Cross and its partners recruit, train and dispatch volunteers to install free smoke alarms and deliver fire safety information in neighborhoods with a higher risk of fires. 

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“Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of someone dying from a home fire in half,” said Ana Montero, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “This cross-sector collaborative demonstrates the collective impact of government, the private sector and the non-profit sector to help save lives and protect against home fire disasters with preventative action.”

PSEG is joining the effort with a $375,000 PSEG Foundation grant supporting the Home Fire Campaign in New Jersey and Long Island. The energy company is also supplying manpower, offering employees the opportunity to lend their support by volunteering at canvassing and installation events throughout the state.

“Our work brings us into our customers’ neighborhoods, homes and businesses all day, every day. Partnerships like this one with the American Red Cross helps us to further demonstrate our commitment to being a strong community partner,” said Ellen Lambert, President of the PSEG Foundation. 

A team of 12 employees from PSE&G’s gas distribution organization volunteered alongside Red Cross volunteers and members of Trenton Fire and Emergency Services during an October 25 Home Fire Campaign canvassing event in Trenton. Teams went door-to-door, educating families about fire safety and installing 230 free smoke alarms, breaking the 14,000 mark for smoke alarm installations in New Jersey.

The home of Trenton resident Steven Simonson was among those volunteers visited during the event. Simonson suffered a home fire three years ago when a lightbulb in a closet malfunctioned. While Trenton firefighters installed smoke alarms in his home, Red Cross volunteers talked with Simonson about fire safety and how he and his family can create a fire escape plan.

“I hope I never have to experience something like that again,” Simonson told volunteers. “Thank you for doing this.”

Marisol Cordero told volunteers her Trenton neighborhood has had numerous home fires and that she was grateful to have new smoke alarms installed in her home.

“I have friends who had a fire and they lost everything, so I’m very happy you all knocked on my door,” said Cordero. “Thank you so much.”

The Home Fire Campaign is active in cities across New Jersey including Trenton, Paterson, Atlantic City, Camden, Perth Amboy, Jersey City, Clifton, Linden, Irvington, New Brunswick, Asbury Park, Plainfield, Pleasantville, Passaic and Newark, to name a few.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 66,000 disasters each year in the United States and the vast majority of those are home fires. The Red Cross responded to 767 home fires in New Jersey last year, offering comfort and providing emergency assistance to more than 1,800 families to help meet needs such as shelter, food and clothing, as well as referrals and mental health services as needed following a home fire.

SIMPLE STEPS TO SAVE LIVES As part of the Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross is calling on everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: practice fire drills at home and check their existing smoke alarms.

There are several things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire:

  • Create a home fire escape plan that includes at least two ways to escape each room and a meeting spot to reunite after escaping.
  • Practice the plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes.
  • If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives.
  • If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.

RED CROSS APPS People can learn how to help prevent a home fire and what to do if one occurs by downloading the Red Cross Emergency App. Children can have fun and learn how to prevent a home fire and other emergencies in the Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App. The First Aid App provides expert advice including what to do for burns, broken bones and breathing and cardiac emergencies. The apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.

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 767 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 1,803 displaced families; collected 89,160 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 3,516 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 116,154 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visit redcross.org/NJ and follow us on Twitter@NJRedCross.org.

About the PSEG Foundation

The PSEG Foundation (501c3) is the philanthropic arm of Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG). The Foundation generally supports and invests in programs in three areas: community and the environment, education and safety. The Foundation provides grants to organizations in communities served by PSEG and its subsidiaries. 


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