What To Do Before the Fire Department Arrives

Exterior of burned buildingBy Gordon Williams

A simple mistake turned what might have been a routine New York City apartment house fire into a tragedy that took more than a dozen lives.

Finding her kitchen in flames, a woman grabbed her children and fled her apartment – leaving the front door wide open. That let the flames spread into the hallway and up the stairwells until the entire five-story building was engulfed in flames. Before the fire was extinguished, 12 people were dead, four critically injured and more than 40 survivors were left homeless on a bitterly cold night. A 13th person died later.

So what should you do in those critical few minutes between the time you discover a fire and when the fire department arrives?

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Why I Volunteer: Melanie Cole


I initially came to the Red Cross in 2013 as an AmeriCorps member in South Puget Sound. Before then, I knew very little about the organization and how much impact it actually has on the communities it serves.

I fell in love with the idea that I could take part in helping people in need every day. I wasn’t stuck behind a desk, I was out in my community and I felt like I was truly giving back. Continue reading

Why I Volunteer: Dayla Braithwaite

Dayla_cropWith the impact that The American Red Cross has, not only my area, but our world, I couldn’t think of a better non-profit company to devote my time to. In late 2016 I reached out to The Red Cross in hopes of becoming part of preparedness education efforts in my community.

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Why Samantha Harrison Volunteers

By Gordon Williams

SamanthaThe goal of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is to reduce deaths from fire by installing smoke alarms in homes and apartments that need them. Since the Red Cross obviously can’t install smoke alarms in every U.S. home, how does it determine where they should go?

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