American Red Cross returns to neighborhood of February fire to put out possibility of future blazes


On February 3, 2019 Vickie Gregory responded in the aftermath of a two-alarm fire on West Potomac Street in Brunswick that displaced residents from their homes and damaged businesses.

Vickie gregory, american red cross

“As a Red Cross responder, I’ve been here several times helping and assisting families because they’ve suffered the consequences of a fire. We want to save lives,” explained Gregory who works for the humanitarian organization as a regional disaster training officer.

And one of the most effective ways to save lives is by use of a smoke alarm.

On Thursday, groups of 50 volunteers geared up with alarms, batteries and safety tips and went door-to-door looking to replace or install the life-saving devices.

Officials say in this area, they’re much needed.

Vickie gregory, american red cross

Brunswick is a particularly vulnerable area, in the downtown area, because the homes are very old. Residents are either very elderly and then we have another sub-section that are extremely young. They lack the resources or the money to purchase alarms, so we’re trying to make them safer,” Gregory said.

Resident Gary Miller says it’s been several years since there’s been a single smoke alarm inside his townhome.

“We had one in the hallway, it’s just one of those that wore out, it started beeping and i just threw it away,” Miller explained.

Volunteers installed three new fire alarms inside miller’s home with batteries that are guaranteed to last at least ten years.

Officials recommend at least three alarms inside a single home.

“It is a Maryland requirement now to have smoke alarms installed in the homes. Not everybody is compliant with that so we want to make sure everyone comes up to compliance,” said Gregory.

And for residents with working alarms, volunteers sketched out escape routes fit to the home’s layout. 

Officials with the Red Cross say volunteers knocked on close to 900 doors to offer services.

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