This is hard.  Every day, the Red Cross says 7 people die in home fires and most of them are in homes that don’t have working smoke alarms.  Volunteers in East Texas are working to change that.

The Red Cross has launched the Home Fire Campaign to help make sure there are smoke alarms in every home in East Texas, and across the U.S.  Volunteers in North Tyler and in Gregg County have been walking through at-risk neighborhoods alongside fire departments and other local groups to install free smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms, educate families about fire prevention.

The kids might learn "stop, drop, and roll," in school, but when is the last time we had a refresher course as adults?  This is helping us put that family escape plan together that we're all supposed to have but rarely have time to sit down and hash out.  And if you're a single lady like me, having someone come by to check the batteries in the smoke alarm is totally welcome!  Here's the ladder. says the effort has been going for about four years, and in that time they've saved hundreds of lives.  Between April 27 and May 12, the Red Cross will install thousands of smoke alarms in thousands of homes in Texas and Louisiana, and they still need volunteers. You don't even have to be too mechanically-minded to pitch in and help out.  They'll train ya.

Smoke alarms have already been installed in neighborhoods in the North Tyler area, along with Gregg County and Gladewater, but it's not too late to request one from the Red Cross.

If the stories about tragic home fires suddenly stop, we'll have some pretty cool volunteers, and the local chapter of the Red Cross to thank. Nice work.

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