BY LYNN MCBRIDE PHOTOS: ALDWIN ROMAN
94 PEOPLE DIED IN FIRES IN SOUTH Carolina last year. And flames have already claimed 19 lives this year.
That’s why the American Red Cross offers free fire alarms to people in need. Volunteers will even come install the alarms to protect people’s homes, families, and pets.
The trouble is, not enough people know about this vital service.
HELPING HANDS FOR RURAL PAWS
That’s until someone at the American Red Cross saw Charleston Animal Society’s “Helping Hands for Rural Paws” program and thought they could reach people at these outreach events for pets.
“We take our Simon Greer Mobile Spay- Neuter clinic across Charleston County to rural communities like McCllellanville, Hollywood and Wadmalaw Island on a routine basis,” said Charleston Animal Society Senior Director of Anti-Cruelty and Community Outreach Aldwin Roman. “This is the perfect audience for the Red Cross to spread their message of fire safety.”
So now The American Red Cross is joining Charleston Animal Society and is taking their services out to where people actually live.
Both organizations believe the program is a great example of co-partnering to provide assistance to families as a whole.
“The American Red Cross is so thankful for the partnerships it has with government and community organizations, like Charleston Animal Society,” said Cuthbert Langley, Director of Communications for the Red Cross. “We look forward to seeing this partnership grow in the years to come.”
The response has been overwhelming: residents sometimes show up hours early to the events, to line up for free pet vaccines, and other medical services for pets. And while they wait, the American Red Cross is there to share their message of fire safety.
The biggest deterrent to home fires is the installation of fire alarms. The goal of the American Red Cross is to install at least one-thousand smoke alarms in each of their target areas in South Carolina. But the program doesn’t stop there—they also offer home safety education for families and their pets, such as fire prevention and escape plans, plus disaster planning for families and their companion animals.