"Three Questions" is an American Red Cross in Greater New York blog series featuring staff, volunteers, and partners who help carry out our humanitarian mission. Through these short interviews, we hope to shine a light on our different programs and get to know those who make this work possible. This interview spotlights two American Red Cross interns.
Twenty Red Cross interns installed smoke alarms in Co-op City on June 11, 2019 as part of the Home Fire Campaign. Co-op City is a cluster of high rise apartment buildings and townhouses that makes up the largest single residential development in the country.
On average, seven people die due to home fires each day across the country. Since 2014, the Home Fire Campaign has worked to prevent these deaths by installing free smoke alarms in communities across the country. The Sound the Alarm installation events see volunteers installing smoke alarms, educating families about fire safety, and replacing batteries on existing alarms.
Samantha Vickers-Hymowitz, an Information and Planning Intern, and Maya David, a Workforce Engagement Intern, attended the June 11 Home Fire Campaign event and talked with us about their experiences.
Can you tell me about your experience at the Home Fire event?
Samantha: I thought it was a lot of fun. I was an installer and that was the first time I ever really used a power drill before so that was a lot of fun. We got to install in about seven homes. I thought it was going to be harder to literally install the alarms, but it wasn’t that bad after doing it the first time.
Maya: It was fun. I was an educator, so I got to talk to the people who lived there. We took a really long time to install and only did three homes, but it was fun still!
What was your favorite part of the day?
Samantha: Getting to know everybody a little bit better was nice. I also think feeling like you were doing something that matters was really cool too. You’re walking into some of those apartments and there weren’t any smoke alarms and it’s kind of hard to imagine if something did happen. It felt like you were saving lives.
Maya: It was nice to talk to different people, different walks of life. I was listening to people’s life stories which was nice. Meeting the other interns was also cool, I feel like we’re a little more connected. Whenever I see other people now I’m like “Hey” because I feel like I know them now.
What did you take away from the experience?
Samantha: The day was really meaningful. I would definitely do it again. 100%. I feel like it’s really cool to actually go out and do field work.
Maya: One of the ladies was telling me about how one of her friends and husband died from carbon monoxide recently. While we were doing the installation, she said thank you for this. Being able to do something that positively affects someone just makes you feel good.