Saving Lives, One Smoke Alarm at a Time: Paul Davis Team Members Lead Red Cross Volunteer Initiative in Western Michigan

As a Paul Davis Emergency Response Coordinator, Amanda Fidler has faced her fair share of heartache. Often among the first responders at scenes of tragedy like house fires, she regularly comforts families coping with profound losses. Through her work supporting first responders and participating in events such as National Night Out, she got an up-close look at the myriad of services provided to community members by the American Red Cross.

Last year, she, along with her employer Jason Kitchen, a Paul Davis franchise owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and several team members, participated in the Red Cross’ Sound the Alarm program. They visited 274 homes in Western Michigan, installing smoke alarms, creating escape plans, and sharing fire safety information.

Shocking statistics reveal that home fires claim seven lives a day, and in 2023, 54% of fire-related deaths in Michigan occurred in homes lacking smoke detectors, underscoring the critical importance of programs like the Red Cross’ Sound the Alarm volunteer initiative. Sound the Alarm is part of a broader Home Fire Campaign the Red Cross launched in 2014 to help make homes safer. Since its launch, 2,030 lives have been saved, and 2,760,220 smoke alarms have been installed in 1,160,426 homes, many in at-risk communities. More than 30 people suffer injuries from home fires each day, and annually, home fires result in $7 billion in property damage each year.

This past year in their region, through the efforts of volunteers like Amanda and Jason, five lives were saved when fires erupted in homes where smoke detectors had been installed. Their impactful work last year, particularly in a home with children, highlights the tangible difference they make, fueling their commitment to the cause.

“Last year we installed smoke detectors in a home with small children,” said Amanda. “The kids were excited to see us and share what they had been taught to do in the event of a fire – stop, drop and roll. It is so gratifying to know we are able to spend a few minutes installing equipment that could very well save someone’s life.”

Recognizing their dedication, the Red Cross invited Amanda and Jason to join the Board of Directors for the regional office covering 12 counties in Western Michigan, supporting 1.2 million residents. Like many Red Cross chapters, theirs employs minimal staff and relies heavily on volunteer support.

Assigned to the “Mission” committee, which oversees programs including Sound the Alarm, Amanda and Jason not only contribute hands-on but also advocate for the Red Cross within various industry groups.

On April 20, Jason, Amanda, and their team aim to install even more smoke detectors, welcoming additional volunteers to join their mission. Amanda is leading the Sound the Alarm site selection effort, which includes identifying a launch site for the volunteer effort. The launch site serves as a designated command center for Red Cross staff and volunteers. Here volunteers are organized, trained, and given shirts and other supplies they will use throughout the day. Following their volunteer service, they enjoy fellowship and a catered lunch courtesy of Buffalo Wild Wings.

Beyond this event, they pledge ongoing support throughout the year, and plan to continue to install smoke detectors during periods of free time.
For those interested in following their lead, Amanda and Jason advise engaging with local Red Cross events, fostering relationships, and exploring diverse avenues for contribution.

To support their upcoming efforts or explore leadership roles within the Red Cross, visit: