Growing Resilient Campaign Aims To Decrease House Fire Deaths

Oct 13, 2015

1,500 homes in Sioux Falls are a little safer after a weekend visit from the American Red Cross, the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue team, and college students. As part of the Growing Resilient Campaign, the teams went door to door to check smoke alarms and to help residents plan a fire escape route.

 A fire engine pulls up alongside a curb in a Sioux Falls neighborhood. Four men get out carrying a duffle bag of equipment and a map.  

Credit Erin Mairose

More than half of all fire deaths are a result of not having working smoke alarms in homes. And over the next five years the American Red Cross wants to decrease that number through the Growing Resilient project that gets first responders and volunteers out in neighbors checking if families are prepared in case of fire.

Within each home firefighters install up to four free smoke alarms.

Over the next two hours the firemen knock on 24 houses and record how many alarms they install, and which houses they need to return to.

They also ask family members if they have a fire escape plan.

This is the third year Sioux Falls has continued the growing resilient campaign. Captain Clint Deboer says the campaign acts as a good reminder for everyone to make sure smoke alarms are working. 

“We know it’s for a good purpose we know it’s going to save lives in the long run, so it doesn’t seem odd to me that we got door to door. We’ve got a lot of good people on this town and we like to protect them, so this is a great service we’re providing to the community,” says  Deboer.

Students from Augustana and the University of Sioux Falls also helped canvas the neighborhood. Communities across the state are taking part in the nationwide campaign.