The Small Device We Take for Granted That Can Save Lives in Impoverished Areas

The Small Device We Take for Granted That Can Save Lives in Impoverished Areas

by Abi Weaver, Global Technology Project Director, American Red Cross
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What everyday device is now saving lives in Africa? @RedCross @KenyaRedCross @CiscoCSR #firesafety


The American Red Cross is a partner of Cisco CSR. Cisco sponsors The Huffington Post's ImpactX section.

Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 9:55am

Do you know how many homes in the United States have smoke detectors? What about around the world? Can you imagine living in a home that didn't, and going to work in the morning with your child or pet in that house? This is the situation that many around the world face and Red Cross volunteers are working to correct.

Last month, volunteers in Arizona, Tennessee and virtually every other state in the nation walked door-to-door, helping families install and test smoke alarms as part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. More than 9,000 miles away, Red Cross volunteers are now providing a similar lifesaving service in the slums of Nairobi and Cape Town.

Over the past year, as the global technology director or the American Red Cross, I have spent some time with residents of three settlements in Nairobi to better understand the fire risk and help find innovative solutions to this overwhelming problem. When fires occur, residents shout, ring bells, honk horns, crank sirens and use social media to alert others. Some residents risk their lives to suppress the fire using blankets and buckets, others douse their unaffected homes with water and sand or knock them down to stop the spread.

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