As a 20-year disaster mental health volunteer for the Red Cross, I participate yearly in the “Sound the Alarm” campaign in April and May. In usual times, we would go to neighborhoods where there might not be any fire alarms in the house and install those at no cost to the resident of the home.

Last year and this year, we have had to skip the personal house calls and are doing these fire alarm check-ups virtually. I would like to urge everyone who is reading this to check each fire alarm in your home to ensure that they are operating and, if necessary, replace the batteries.

I also would like to ask you to review with your loved ones your two-minute escape plan.

This means a door or window in the front of the house and in the back of the house that you can escape through in case of a fire.

The Red Cross has kept track of homes that we have installed fire alarms in and saved 900 lives over the past four years! Since the wild fire season is upon us, it is especially important that you are prepared in case you have to leave your home quickly, with little advance notice.

Thank you for being a “Red Cross Saving a Life Campaign” participant.