MySafe:LA enjoys a positive and rewarding relationship with the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. For more than a year, we’ve collaborated on home safety visits, installing smoke alarms, and working to make families safer from fire.
There are some important differences between our organizations, but it’s that diversity that makes our relationship so positive. The Red Cross utilizes volunteers for its neighborhood canvassing operations, while MySafe:LA pays its public safety officers and home educators. Our uniformed members are EMTs, Paramedics, or even have their firefighter 1 certificate, so our folks are essentially first responders.
When the Red Cross identifies an area they wish to canvass, our research team evaluates a location nearby. Typically, we’ll then canvass separately, using our pre-canvassing door hangers as an announcement that we’re coming. We also bring our Los Angeles Fire Department partners along with us, to establish the public safety relationship that is so important to reducing risk in the community. LAFD members make introductions only, but having a chance to visit for even a few minutes creates better awareness between the local fire company and the people they protect.
The Red Cross makes appointments in advance. So, the specific addresses and interest level of people is pre-determined. Each Red Cross installation team gets a list of addresses to visit, and the tools and materials necessary to complete a home visit.
By working side by side, utilizing our contrasting styles of home visits, we’re able to reach a wide audience, and to compare results so that we are able to be effective in the work we deliver. The next step will be to evaluate our results as it relates to fires in specific communities post-canvassing. By looking back a year and two years following canvassing, we’ll be better able to determine if the work we’re doing is reducing fire injuries and fatalities beyond the results of the past three years (a 40%+ decline in fire fatalities in the City of Los Angeles).
At the last community canvassing in LA County, I wore a Red Cross polo shirt instead of my typical uniform. It was a pleasure to do so – and it highlights that we’re about making people safer, and working together is just one of the appropriate steps to successfully engage any community.