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Firefighters and Red Cross volunteers install more than 100 smoke detectors at the Contempo Mobile Home Park in San Rafael in August. Photo courtesy of The American Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region

 Volunteers from the Red Cross fanned out across the Contempo Marin Mobile Home Park in San Rafael, a community of 400 homes, to install free smoke alarms for residents in August. This Sound the Alarm event is part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, a national program designed to save lives from home fires through installation of free smoke alarms and fire safety education. 

   The Red Cross announced that since the start of the Home Fire Campaign in October 2014, volunteers have installed more than 2.5 million free smoke alarms with almost 2,000 documented lives saved thanks to those smoke alarms and fire safety education. 

   The Red Cross is known for its humanitarian response to disasters like wildfires, hurricanes and floods. But the most frequent disaster in the United States is a home fire. In fact, home fires claim seven lives every day in this country, but working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death by half. 

   Retired firefighter Kathy Baker of San Anselmo is one of the Red Cross volunteers who donated her time at the event. Baker teamed up with fellow Red Cross volunteer Doug Koefoed of San Francisco. Koefoed checked and installed smoke alarms in each home, while Baker spoke with residents about how to keep their home safe from home fires including creating a family escape plan in case of fire, having two exits from each room, and testing smoke alarms once a year. 

   The Home Fire Campaign prioritizes its outreach to communities where residents are more likely to experience home fires. Local Red Cross chapters work with community partners, including fire departments, to determine where help is needed most. This includes people most at risk, such as those with disabilities and older adults. 

   At the Contempo Marin Mobile Home Park Sound the Alarm event, Red Cross volunteers installed 107 smoke alarms in 44 homes and gave home safety information to 115 residents. 

   Anyone interested in having free smoke alarms installed in their home can contact their local Red Cross office or visit

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