More than half of fire deaths in Hawaii were of people 65 and older, according to a recent report. That’s why AARP Hawaii and the American Red Cross are teaming up to prevent fire deaths among kupuna.

Nationally, the number of fire deaths is declining, but deaths among people 65 and older is increasing. Kupuna are nearly three times as likely to die in fires than the general population.

We’re asking for volunteers and donations to the Sound the Alarm campaign of the American Red Cross. The Hawaii Chapter of the Red Cross is planning to install 1,000 smoke alarms, for free, in the homes and apartments of people who need them. We’re also working to educate families about fire prevention and mapping fire escape routes.

It’s part of a national Red Cross effort to reduce death and injury from home fires by 25% by 2020.

Working smoke alarms in a home cut the risk of death by half, and having an escape plan further improves the odds of survival.

On Sept. 11, the National Day of Service, the AARP Hawaii office volunteered to put together kits that will be used by Red Cross volunteers to install smoke alarms in homes in Honolulu.

The Hawaii Sound the Alarm campaign kicks off this month, which is National Preparedness Month. Volunteers will be installing smoke alarms on Oahu from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 23; Wednesday, Sept. 27th; Saturday, Sept. 30; and Saturday, Oct. 7. The fall campaign was scaled back because of the hurricanes in Florida and Texas. But more smoke detectors will be installed in the spring.

If you need a free smoke alarm, call the Red Cross at 739-8111 and leave a message with your name, number and address.

Volunteers or groups wanting to volunteer can also e-mail Andrea Ritter at andrea.ritter@redcross.org. They are still looking for volunteers on Oct. 7 and will need more volunteers and volunteer groups this spring.

Donations to the Hawaii Sound the Alarm campaign are being taken online at https://www.crowdrise.com/STAHawaii or you can call 1-800-220-4095 and designate your gift to the Hawaii Sound the Alarm effort.

More information on preventing fire deaths is available online at AARP.org and RedCross.org.

Go to:

8 Fundamentals of Fire Safety:
http://www.aarp.org/home-family/your-home/info-2016/fire-safety-tips.html

Home Fire Preparedness:
http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire/home-fire-preparedness

Since the Red Cross began its Home Fire Campaign in 2014, a least 268 lives have been saved; more than 886,800 free smoke alarms have been installed and more than 368,000 households have been made safer through preparedness planning.

AARP Hawaii office staff and volunteers packed kits for the American Red Cross’ Sound the Alarm campaign to install free smoke detectors in homes.

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