A three-alarm birthday, Red Cross style

By Patricia Fraga, Volunteer Contributor

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On Saturday, December 9th, the American Red Cross Serving Central Texas held a Sound the Alarm event in Southeast Austin as part of the nationwide Red Cross effort to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires.

Since its launch in 2014 this preparedness program has saved 285 lives by providing free smoke alarms in homes across the country.

During this Saturday event, Red Cross volunteers installed more than 84 smoke alarms in homes of the Pecan Grove mobile home park.

One of the families visited by the Red Cross was the Alvarez family (below).  The family of six received three free smoke alarms in their festively decorated home for the holidays.


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The Alvarez family was educated on the importance of working smoke alarms, putting together a fire evacuation plan, and other safety tips.

Pricilla Alvarez, an 8th grader, listened intently to the fire safety tips and even provided a local television station with an interview about what she learned.

Even more touching was the impromptu birthday celebration for another of the Alvarez girls, Marissa. When the Red Cross team heard that Saturday was her eighth birthday, they serenaded her with “Happy Birthday,” and of course left behind three special, potentially life-saving gifts that will ensure many more birthdays to come.

At the end of the 30-minute visit, the entire family was very grateful and thanked the Red Cross volunteer team for their efforts and expertise.

A three-alarm birthday, Red Cross style