In the United States, continuous and pervasive home fires remain a common cause of death and injury. The installation of just one working smoke alarm in a household can reduce risk by 50 percent, but equipping the millions of households currently without alarms presents a massive challenge.

As a national, grassroots organization focused on lifesaving services, the Red Cross was well positioned to lead on this issue and, in October 2014, it created the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign. The campaign has since installed 840,000 smoke alarms and designed evacuation plans in nearly 350,000 homes across more than 10,000 US communities, saving more than 235 lives to date.

Red Cross chapters across the United States are building relationships and connections and working with partners to:

  • Identify which neighborhoods are most at risk, and then target campaign activities.
  • Recruit volunteers to canvass neighborhoods and form home-visit teams.
  • Support the campaign through financial and material resources, such as food and tools.
  • Jointly execute in-home visit events, which leverage thousands of volunteers.
  • Evaluate activities to improve events over time.

A major challenge to reaching at-risk households is that organizations serving these communities already operate on a thin margin and have little room to expand the scope of their primary missions, even for a good cause. The Red Cross finds common ground, and aims to remain nimble enough to create joint ventures that adhere to the program standards and prepare households, while not placing an unsustainable work burden on its partners. Ultimately, this campaign is an extension of our mission to prevent and alleviate suffering in the face of disaster and emergency, and the more efficiently a coalition or partnership can execute its goal, the more lives we will save.

Read the source article at Stanford Social Innovation Review