The American Red Cross website says a house fire is the most common disaster in the United States, and seven times a day those fires prove to be fatal. If a home has a smoke alarm in it, it almost doubles the chances of the family surviving a house fire.


These are some of the reasons why the American Red Cross teamed up with the Anna Fire Department on July 8. On this day the Anna Fire Department went though a few local neighborhoods to offer residents free fire alarms. The American Red Cross supplied the alarms while the Anna Fire Department installed them.


Beverly Martin is the disaster program manager for Collin, Denton and Wise counties, and has been with the Red Cross since 1998. Martin said her goal is to reach out to local residents to install smoke alarms and provide safety information at least twice a month.


Martin said she is passionate about this due to residents’ apprehension for registering online.


“Many residents are still uncomfortable signing up for anything online,” Martin said. “Collaborating with the local fire department to identify neighborhoods that are in need has been more successful in reaching many more residents on the same day.”


The event on July 8 was a huge success, Martin said.


“With the help of Anna Fire Department, 93 alarms were installed,” Martin said. “Most importantly, 40 households were made safer by creating an evacuation plan, and receiving information on fire safety and tornado safety.”


Denotra Brown, a resident of Anna has lived in her home for three years, and has never had a smoke alarm. Brown said she loves what the Red Cross and Anna Fire Department are doing.


“I think it’s a great idea,” Brown said. “With my twins, grandson, and neighborhood friends in my house, I know this will help in case of an emergency.”


Brown also appreciated the evacuation plan board that the Red Cross gave her.


“I like this because my kids are old enough to read, and we can all use the evacuation plan to get out of the house in case of a fire,” Brown said. “It helps us have a safety plan.”


The Red Cross said the evacuation plans are a handy tool to have because once the smoke alarm goes off, a person has an average of two minutes to evacuate the building.