Red Cross fire alert campaign has saved at least 43 lives in the Tennessee Region

SHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 24, 2023 — The American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign with the support of community partners has achieved its goal of installing 2.5 million free smoke alarms and making 1 million households safer across the country.

Since launching in October 2014, the campaign has saved at least 1,583 lives nationwide — including 43 people in the Tennessee Region — from the threat of home fires, which claim seven lives every day in the U.S. Most often, these tragedies occur in homes without working smoke alarms.

“We are proud of our incredible work with community partners to help save lives by providing free smoke alarms in our region as part of the national Home Fire Campaign,” said Joel Sullivan, regional executive officer for the Red Cross. “This amazing effort has been made possible by every volunteer, donor and supporter who teamed up to care for vulnerable families in our community.”

In the Tennessee Region, since 2014, Red Cross volunteers and partners have:

Installed 53,192 free smoke alarms
Made 22,001 households safer
Educated 41,841 children through youth preparedness programs

FREE HOME FIRE SERVICES TO CONTINUE Because home fires remain a daily threat and the campaign has made a lifesaving difference, the Red Cross will be continuing the program with community partners as part of its standard services, including a Sound the Alarm events providing free smoke alarms throughout the region. Events are scheduled from March 4 to April 1 in the Tennessee Region. Visit or contact your local chapter for a home fire safety visit if you need assistance.

Visit Sound the Alarm Events to register to volunteer at one of our homes fire safety events. No prior experience is needed. Training will be provided before volunteer teams visit area homes to install smoke alarms and share fire safety information. While visiting with families, Volunteers will share information on the causes of home fires, how to prevent them, what to do if a fire starts and how to create an escape plan.

In addition, the campaign’s other services will continue, such as teaching children about the threat of home fires and what to do through youth preparedness programs, installing accessible fire safety equipment like bed shaker alarms and strobe light smoke alarms for residents who are deaf or hard of hearing, and providing home fire safety resources in American Sign Language.

Home fires account for most of the more than 60,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to annually in Tennessee and across the country. So far in 2023, Red Cross volunteers have responded to more than 1,380 home fires in the region by providing emergency lodging, financial assistance for urgent needs like food and clothing, and one-on-one recovery support for navigating next steps and connecting with community resources.

There are hundreds of stories about the impact the Home Fire Campaign has on families across the nation. In Nashville, Ophia McCray heard a loud boom followed by her smoke detector alarm one warm Sunday morning, she knew something was wrong. Hurrying to the front of her house on Ewing Avenue in Nashville, McCray saw smoke billowing from the basement door. A lightning storm that morning had struck a tree in a neighbor’s yard. The blaze jumped underground to her house, where it spread quickly throughout the building.

McCray escaped the blaze by crawling out of a small bathroom window with the help of a neighbor and his daughter before the fire went through the roof. “With God’s help, they broke the double-paned window and got me out,” says McCray. She credits the smoke detector, which had been installed for free by American Red Cross volunteers through the Home Fire Campaign program, with giving her time to escape.

Read more stories and see the campaign’s national impact at

HOW TO GET INVOLVED Help save lives through the campaign by becoming a volunteer or making a financial donation to prepare, respond and help families recover from home fires. Learn more at

You can also help your family by testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your two-minute home fire escape plan. Additional safety tips are available at and on the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in mobile app stores).

This work is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from regional partners:

United Way of the Mid-South

United Way of Greater Kingsport

United Way of Greater Nashville


Erica and Philip Collins

Pilot Flying J Travel Centers

Charles Hasson Foundation and House Hasson Hardware

BlueCross BlueShield of TN and the Tennessee Health Foundation

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

The Memorial Foundation, Inc.

The Red Cross appreciates and recognizes the ongoing partnership with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance: State Fire Marshal’s Office in making families safer throughout Tennessee.