The Sound You Never Want to Hear, But Are Grateful You Did

The piercing sound of your smoke detector goes off. Your bedroom is filling with smoke. You have two minutes to get out of your house before the smoke will impact your ability to breathe. Do you know how to exit your home? Do you have a working fire extinguisher within reach? Imagine the scenario without having a smoke detector.

Rebuilding Together Twin Cities’ Safe at Home Program is designed to prevent falls and ensure the safety of homes of residents with disabilities, 55 years and older. One of the quickest modifications we perform to make a home safer is to ensure that there are enough working smoke detectors in a home. This year, we are partnering with the American Red Cross serving the Twin Cities Area’s “Home Fire Campaign,” which is providing ten-year smoke detectors and safety education material at no cost to help prepare homeowners in the event of a fire.

As an AmeriCorps Project Coordinator, I speak to many homeowners that haven’t updated their smoke detectors in years or are unable to change the batteries. Some have fire extinguishers that are 20 plus years old. This leaves many residents vulnerable in the event of a home fire. I encourage everyone to make sure that they have working smoke detectors, an accessible fire extinguisher, and an escape plan. As a former Conservation Corps member who served on fire base camps and a survivor of a workplace fire, I know how quickly you must react when dealing with fire at any size. Although, the sound of an alarm is jarring and still startles me to this day, I am grateful for that tiny, round device.

For more information on smoke detectors and fire safety, please visit:

Author Krista Yamashita is currently serving as an AmeriCorps CapacityCorps member with Rebuilding Together Twin Cities.

Welcome New AmeriCorps Members!

We are excited to welcome three new AmeriCorps members to the Rebuilding Together Twin Cities team: Ethan Boote, Molly Sir, and Krista Yamashita.

Ethan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from St. Olaf’s College this year.  He has a passion for community service and has volunteered his time in many capacities. Ethan has experience in architectural planning, interacting with people from a variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, and working as part of a team.

Molly is a recent graduate of Macalester College where she studied American Studies and Urban Studies. Her passion for social justice has led her to numerous organizations including interning at a non-profit criminal defense firm and facilitating a youth leadership after school program. Molly is currently a New Sector RISE Fellow, where her host project with us is complimented by a non-profit leadership curriculum.

Krista holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Design from California State University.  She has extensive experience in coordinating events and customer service.  Krista also served with the California Conservation Corps in 2012.

Welcome Ethan, Molly and Krista!

This is the eighth year that Rebuilding Together has been awarded an AmeriCorps grant through the Corporation for National and Community Service.  The goal of the AmeriCorps CapacityCorps program is to build the capacity of grassroots Rebuilding Together programs so they can be more sustainable, effective, and efficient in helping homeowners in need, and the AmeriCorps program plays an important role in our ability to help low-income homeowners in our community.  Earlier this year, Congress proposed to cut funding for Corporation for National and Community Service by up to 34%. These bills would be devastating, eliminating tens of thousands of national service positions. House and Senate appropriators are currently making final decisions about the budget, and funding for national service is still in jeopardy. Please consider contacting your member of Congress and Senator Blunt, Chairman of the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, who is a key decision-maker when it comes to national service funding at (202) 224-5721