Friday, November 11, 2016

Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director Julia Wright, November 2016

No, I did not forget that October was Fire Prevention Month! I haven't skipped a beat, yet Fall is speeding along, and with Halloween and its own package of safety measures put to sleep, the holiday season is now in front of us.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to realize the many opportunities there are for fire from now through Christmas and through the rest of the winter months. I'd like to think that we got a sufficient head start on keeping the risks to a minimum by installing smoke alarms in several communities in Southeast Tennessee since the beginning of October.

One such neighborhood, the Avondale community, is a community of lower income households where more than half of the neighborhood is rented, not owned. This is the reason why Avondale was chosen as prime territory for part of the American Red Cross's Home Fire Preparedness Campaign on October 2.  Volunteers came equipped with ladders, drills and fire escape planning information to teach people how to be prepared for home fires. We came with smoke alarms prepared to install where they were missing and most needed.

The Chattanooga Fire Department responds to around 16,000 fire related emergencies annually. This is an impressive number for the city with the fourth largest population in the state of Tennessee at 176,588.  The department protects a fast growing 144 square miles in Hamilton County. That is a lot of territory for many different kinds of life-threatening fires.

We all can relate to the effort to assist victims of fire on a frequent basis, and the personal satisfaction it gives all volunteers and staff to put prevention in place for everyone we can.

Help us continue to educate people about fire safety and install smoke alarms where needed by becoming a Red Cross volunteer today.  Together, we can make our community and safer place.

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