IMG_3962By: Sara Shager

The Red Cross recently installed smoke alarms in several mobile homes in the Port Susan Camping Club in Tulalip, Washington. The need for working smoke alarms in close-quartered camping clubs is extremely high. The forest surrounding the club increases the risk of fires spreading from home to home. As volunteers finished one of the installations, a club member shared her escape plan.

“I think if a fire started here, I’d probably go jump in the pool,” joked Marilyn Mark. “I’m a survivor of two fires, so I am very fire emergency-minded and that’s why I signed up for this installation.”


Marilyn explained to us that she’d been in a fire where she crawled down several flights of stairs. In a separate incident, she quickly escaped because of the early warning given off by smoke alarms. “I understand first-hand about the importance of smoke alarms, especially in this area,” she said.

Semi-permanent campers are located quite closely together in what the Port Susan Emergency Response Team calls, “an aging forest.” With over 2,450 members, and over 600 “full-time” members, the area stands the high risk of fire whether it’s from a wood-burning stove, propane tanks, bonfires or brush fires. The smoke alarm installations here are always received with enthusiasm and gratitude from the campers. One member of the Emergency Response Team mentioned that it’s not uncommon to find homes that have gone 20 years without working smoke alarms.

If you would like to partner with the Red Cross to install live-saving smoke alarms in your community, visit or call your local Red Cross chapter.



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