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American Red Cross and HOPE worldwide Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Legacy
Date:1/14/2009

Volunteer partnership to deliver fire safety information to thousands vulnerable to home fires.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the country prepares to inaugurate its first African American President, the American Red Cross and HOPE worldwide will celebrate the legacy of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by partnering to distribute fire prevention and safety information throughout 25 cities this weekend.

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"Dr. King recognized the power of volunteer service to strengthen communities and achieve common goals," said Antonio Boyd, HOPE worldwide Vice President -- U.S. Programs. "This partnership with the Red Cross will help strengthen communities by giving people the information they need to prevent home fires and protect their loved ones."

During the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and throughout the weekend, canvassers in 25 cities, from California to New York, will be talking with people about ways to heat and cook safely, the value of smoke alarms and the need to create and practice a household fire escape plan. Fire safety and prevention door hangers in English and in Spanish will be provided to all homes visited by volunteers, and left for neighbors who are not at home.

"We are encouraging people to take the simple steps necessary to help protect their families and homes from fire," says Scott Conner, Senior Vice President, Preparedness and Health and Safety Services for the American Red Cross. "Fires can affect anyone, regardless of their background or geographic location, but many can be prevented. We are thrilled to partner with HOPE worldwide on this important opportunity to educate and empower Americans."

Fire safety education is especially important this year. In a recent national survey conducted by the American Red Cross and the National Fire Protection Association, approximately half of the respondents planned to use alternative sources of heat to reduce their heating bills this winter. The increased use of portable space heaters, stoves, ovens and fireplaces may lead to additional home fires, above the usual 180 home fires to which the Red Cross responds every day.

This is the second year Red Cross chapters and HOPE worldwide offices have worked together to recognize the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service by distributing fire safety information. Last year more than 2,000 volunteers walked door-to-door to distribute fire safety and prevention tips to more than 42,000 households across the United States.

About HOPE worldwide

In the U.S., HOPE worldwide is located in 65 cities and works in cooperation with over 138 churches that provide more than 20,000 volunteers. HOPE worldwide volunteers mobilize to help their communities with issues of disaster preparedness and relief, education, children, workforce development, and community outreach. For more information please visit www.hopeww.org.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization -- not a government agency -- and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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