Detroit Regional Chamber > Member News > American Red Cross to Achieve Milestone During Sound the Alarm

American Red Cross to Achieve Milestone During Sound the Alarm

April 11, 2024
DETROIT (April 10, 2024) – The American Red Cross has been installing free smoke alarms and teaching home fire safety since the launch of its Home Fire Campaign in 2014. Sometime in the next few weeks, the Red Cross Michigan Region will achieve a significant milestone by installing its 80,000th smoke alarm.

Through these efforts, the Red Cross will also have made safer more than 31,000 Michigan households since 2014.

The noteworthy install will take place during Sound the Alarm, an annual event to raise awareness about the importance of having working smoke alarms in your home and how to keep you and your family safe in the event of a home fire.

Sound the Alarm kicks off Saturday, April 13, and runs through May 11. During the four-week stretch, Red Cross volunteers and team members will be joined by community partners in public safety, business and government to install smoke alarms and help families create fire escape plans in 15 communities across Michigan. These include Detroit, Alpena, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Boyne City, Flint, Grayling, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Jackson, Petoskey, Saginaw, Waldron, Wyoming and Zeeland.

The Red Cross installs traditional smoke alarms that make a high-pitch sound when they detect smoke. For households with family members who are deaf or hard of hearing, the Red Cross also installs devices that vibrate and flash a bright light.

“We’ve made a lifesaving difference through our Home Fire Campaign and Sound the Alarm program. And we continue to build on that momentum to help families in need and save lives across Michigan,” said Mary Lynn Foster, regional chief executive officer of the Red Cross Michigan Region.

“Every second counts when there’s a home fire. Having working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in half.”

The sooner an alarm goes off, the sooner occupants in a home fire can escape to safety. People have less than two minutes to escape a burning home. Every year, the Red Cross responds to more than 60,000 disasters nationwide. Home fires account for most of them.

In 2023, the Red Cross responded to nearly 2,000 home fires throughout the state.

Carena Levelston of Muskegon credits smoke alarms installed by the Red Cross with saving her family’s life in 2019. She and three family members were asleep when smoke from a kitchen fire triggered the alarms in their rental home.

“If it hadn’t been for those alarms going off, we would not have made it out,” said Levelston, who lost a sister in a home fire a few years earlier.

Sound the Alarm is part of the Home Fire Campaign, which the Red Cross developed in October 2014 to reduce fire-related injuries and fatalities by installing smoke alarms and teaching families about home fire safety. Nationally, the Red Cross has installed 2.6 million smoke alarms to date.

These services are free and available to those in need thanks to donations to the Red Cross.

“The success of our Home Fire Campaign and Sound the Alarm would not be possible without the generosity of our donors, volunteers, team members and regional partners,” Foster said.

In addition to installing smoke alarms, the Red Cross meets with families to create a two-minute fire escape plan and share safety information about home fires and other local disaster risks. A fire escape plan should include at least two ways to exit every room in the home and practiced twice a year.

The Red Cross makes these recommendations for your smoke alarms.

• Place them on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
• Test them once a month. Change the batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.
• If they are older than 10 years, it is best to replace them. The components, such as batteries, can become less reliable. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.

To request a smoke alarm installation appointment or volunteer for the Home Fire Campaign or Sound the Alarm, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit

People interested in making a financial gift can do so at


MEDIA CONTACT: David Olejarz / / 313-303-0606

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or, or follow us on social media.