SFMO, Red Cross Continue Lifesaving “Get Alarmed” Partnership

Thursday, September 24, 2015 | 02:46pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) and the Tennessee Region of the American Red Cross continue to save lives as part of the SFMO’s “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” program, which has now saved 106 people in its nearly three-year history.

On Saturday, Sept. 19, SFMO, Red Cross and Clarksville Fire Department volunteers installed a free smoke alarm inside a Clarksville man’s home on Sunset Court as part of a canvass. Just a few hours later, on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 20, flames from a cooking fire engulfed the house while the man slept. Fortunately, what could have been a tragic situation was avoided after the new smoke alarm woke the man who was able to escape the home and call for help. This man was the 106th person saved because of a smoke alarm installed in the “Get Alarmed” program.

Unfortunately, cooking related fires happen frequently. From 2009-2013, Tennessee fire departments reported 9,847 residential structure fires involving cooking equipment. These fires resulted in 33 civilian deaths, 249 civilian injuries, and $37.6 million in direct property damage. To help combat potential fire hazards, the SFMO relies on partners like the Red Cross and local fire departments to install smoke alarms through the “Get Alarmed” program. To date, over 88,000 free smoke alarms have been installed through smoke-alarm canvasses like the one earlier this month.

“Adding the Red Cross to our list of partners gives us another strong ally in helping reduce home fire deaths,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Deputy Commissioner Gary West, who oversees the Fire Prevention Division. “Working together with our partners like the Red Cross and local fire departments, we hope to educate thousands of Tennesseans on the importance of having a working smoke alarm and home fire escape plan.”

Using grant funds awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the SFMO launched its “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” program in November 2012. Through the program, smoke alarms are distributed to fire departments to be installed in at-risk homes. While in the home, the installers explain key fire safety tips to residents and encourage them to create a home fire escape plan.  

The Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign is happening all over the country and involves Red Cross workers joining with local fire departments and community groups to visit neighborhoods at high risk for fires. Those visits include educating people about fire safety through door-to-door visits and installation of smoke alarms in some of these neighborhoods.

Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 4-10) gives volunteers more opportunities to save lives with two “Get Alarmed” canvasses on Saturday, Oct. 10 in Nashville and Memphis.  Details:


Where: Volunteers will meet at Cornerstone Church (726 W Old Hickory Blvd, Madison, TN 37115 ) and canvas in Madison, East Nashville and Rose Park neighborhoods.

When: 8:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. (CDT)

Lead Contact: Gage Cobb, gage.cobb@redcross.org or 615-250-4256


Where: Volunteers will meet at the Soulsville Charter School (910 E McLemore Ave, Memphis, TN 38106) and conduct a door-to-door smoke alarm check and canvas of homes in the 38106 ZIP Code.

When: 9:00 a.m. – 1 p.m. (CDT)

Lead contact: Jeana Bailley, jeana.bailley@redcross.org or 901-672-6370.