Seniors Take Charge in their Community Installing Smoke Alarms

It’s about Time…

Two minutes, to be exact.

In this agonizingly short timeframe, a family can win or lose its fight to escape a home fire and the lethal smoke created by that fire.   One device can even the odds for a family:  tested, working smoke alarms.

Our golden age community members understand this; they know there’s never any time to waste so these seniors didn’t.

Partnering with the American Red Cross, they took matters into their own hands.  They knocked on doors, hauled ladders, drilled into walls, mounted alarms, replaced dead batteries, shared fire prevention tips, and documented their results in a smoke alarm installation campaign. In just four-days they saw 20% of their neighborhood homes equipped with brand new 10-year-battery smoke alarms.  The group visited more than 100 homes installing 225 alarms.

They were the disaster volunteers of Mobile County Club in Rancho Cordova who carried out the project with the support of their management and Home Owners Association.

Nothing stopped them, not even temperatures which topped 100 degrees.  Red Cross staff and volunteers, in some cases half the age of their clients, did their best to keep up.  “They set a pace we haven’t seen before,” said Myisha Aban, Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Manager. “These people are so resilient and delightful. I wish my grandmother lived here.”

Equally important, residents were given safety literature emphasizing the all-imperative escape plan, ensuring that a two-minute evacuation strategy would not fail due to blocked or inaccessible exits or pathways to safety unknown to anyone in the household.

Spearheading the charge was Antonio Martinez, HOA Treasurer and the tireless promoter of disaster preparedness for his community of mobile homes.  Tony initiated this project when he called the Red Cross inquiring for free vests.  Joining Tony were residents Bob Schroeder, Lyle Fellows, Bill Johnston, Darrill Sturgeon, Jorge (Chiqui) Nievies, Linda Martinez, Deborah Fieldson, and Irene Ferraro.

The group proved itself not only handy but tireless.  Keeping up with them (or trying to) were Veteran Red Cross volunteer Marcus Heningburg who oversaw Operations along with David Hansen, Todd and Terry Sanford, Isadora Marks, Reena Singh, and Patricia Davis, all of the American Red Cross.

Start to finish, the project was encouraged by Property Manager Leslie Gomez and Office Assistant Kelly Boughton; their support and hospitality contributed significantly to the event’s success.

The alarms and batteries were provided free of charge as benefits of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, a nationwide movement to cut by 25% and over a five-year period deaths from home fires.

Coast-to-coast, the fire service has supported the campaign and did so here.  On the first day, a ladder company from Sacramento Metropolitan Fire walked with volunteers and encouraged neighbors to join the movement at Mobile Country Club.

…because Tony and his friends aren’t done.

They’ve got more of that Park to cover.  And they will.

Given several factors, the Red Cross encourages all mobile home parks and their managements to consider a Home Fire Campaign for smoke alarm installation and community disaster education. For more information or to schedule installations visit our website: and click on Home Fire Campaign.

News: Gold Country Fairground Shelter Closing


American Red Cross Closes Trailhead Fire Shelter at the Gold Country Fairgrounds
Urges Residents to Prepare Now for Future Wildfires

Auburn, CA, July 2, 2016 – The American Red Cross will be closing the evacuation shelter at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Placer County as of 1:00pm this afternoon.

Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted last night in Placer County resulting in no clients spending the night in the Gold Country Fairgrounds shelter in Auburn. However, the evacuation shelter at the Golden Sierra High School in El Dorado County will remain open until further notice.

“We are very pleased with the progress that has been made on containment of the Trailhead Fire and happy to know there wasn’t any damage to homes,” said Lilly Wyatt, Director of Regional Communications and Marketing for the American Red Cross. “We hope it continues to progress in a positive way for the next days.”

Red Cross volunteers will begin performing damage assessments and distributing bulk and cleaning supplies to residents of Foresthill today and tomorrow.

The Trailhead Fire is just one of the wildfires burning across the state and we know that California is prone to more wildfires due to the five-year drought. The American Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to stay safe when wildfires threaten.

“By preparing together for wildfires, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” Wyatt said. “We can help you and your family create a wildfire preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened.”

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for wildfires by:

  • Downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. The Red Cross Emergency App contains tips on how to assemble an emergency kit and how to create a plan so all household members will know what to do in case they can’t make it home or they have to evacuate.
    • “Family Safe” is a unique feature that allows users to notify loved ones who are in an affected area. They can also use the app to let people know that they are safe. The app has a map with open Red Cross shelter locations and a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. Preparedness content is available in English and Spanish. People can download the app in their app store or by going to org/apps.emergency ap
  • Creating and practicing a wildfire evacuation plan. People should learn about wildfire risks in their area and know what to do if one occurs. Plans should include a place outside the neighborhood in case family members cannot get home or need to evacuate.
  • Creating an emergency preparedness kit. Pack a first aid kit and a seven-day supply of essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration, a manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents like your insurance policies, cell phone chargers, family and emergency contact information, maps of the area and other emergency items for the whole family. Set aside household items that can be used as fire tools (e.g. a rake, ax, shovel, bucket, chain or hand saw)
  • Heeding news reports. Listen to local radio and TV stations for updated information. If threatened, be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice as wildfires can be unpredictable. Contain pets to one room so they can be located easily. Back vehicles into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
  • Preparing your home. Select building materials and plants that resist fire. Regularly clean the roof and gutters to remove flammable debris. Identify and maintain an adequate water source outside the home, such as a small pond, cistern, well or swimming pool. Make sure driveway entrances and the house number or address are clearly marked.

For more information on what to do before, during and after a wildfire, people can go to


People can also follow the Gold Country Region of the American Red Cross on Twitter at @RCSierraDelta or @RedCrossNECal.


About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


— END —