Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Launch, A Lunch, and A Side of Fire Prevention

Yesterday, myself and the rest of the Community Preparedness and Resilience Team attended a luncheon at the Fresno Fire Museum to kick off the third season of Team Firestopper. We arrived early to set up the event and expected the occasion to run smoothly, allowing us to interact with our community partners and sponsors. By the time the attendees of the event arrived, the room looked fantastic and the speakers began. First was Ellen Knapp, the American Red Cross Regional CEO. I really enjoyed when she sat her script on the podium, and spoke freely about our amazing supervisor, Alex Villa, who is the father of Team Firestopper. She beamed that two years ago, Alex walked into her office with this bright idea to emphasize disaster preparedness in order to minimize or completely eliminate house fires in the Central Valley. As more and more people spoke of the accomplishments of Alex and his program, I realized that I was sitting in the presence of a revolutionary.

Here we are three years later, stronger than ever, and reaching out to more people than ever. The program is spreading throughout the Central Valley, educating at-risk communities that haven’t been reached before. Team Firestopper has made such a splash here in the Central Valley, and now it’s going viral. Other American Red Cross chapters have heard of the success of the program and are integrating it into their own communities. As you can see, this is an amazing program to be involved with, one that exists for the greater good of our communities to prevent home fires. I, and the rest of the dedicated staff and volunteers here at the American Red Cross feel very strongly about the program and its benefits to at-risk communities, and we encourage you to participate.

For more information on when and where Team Firestopper events take place, and how to get involved, be sure to visit

Samantha Minks
Preparedness Coordinator
American Red Cross – Kern Chapter

AmeriCorps NPRC Member 2013-2014
Community Preparedness and Resilience Services

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