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Home Fire Campaign

  • Did You Know?

    Children under five are almost one and a half times as likely to die in a home fire when compared to all other youth.
    Home Fire Campaign
  • Did You Know?

    Families have as little as two minutes to safely escape a burning home.
    Home Fire Campaign
  • Did You Know?

    A working smoke alarm can double a person’s chances of surviving a home fire.

    Home Fire Campaign

You and your family can prevent and prepare for a home fire with two simple steps:

Step 1
Practice fire drills at home.

Use this Home Fire Escape Plan worksheet to plan your evacuation and practice it at least twice a year as a family.

Step 2
Test your smoke alarms monthly.

Make sure you and your family are alerted as soon as a fire is detected. If the smoke alarm isn’t working, change the batteries.

The Red Cross Responds to a Home Fire or Other Disaster Every 8 Minutes

That is why we launched the Home Fire Campaign, which aims to reduce the number of fire-related deaths and injuries by 25 percent by 2020. To date in Chicago and Northern Illinois we have:
Red Cross Home Fire Campaign - Stats 3

Conducted more than 2371 in-home visits

Red Cross Home Fire Campaign - Stats

Installed more than 7086 smoke alarms.

Red Cross Home Fire Campaign - Stats 2

Created more than 6550 evacuation plans

Red Cross Home Fire Campaign - Stats 4

Reached more than 7690 youth with preparedness information

Red Cross Home Fire Campaign - Stats 6

Visited 42 cities and towns in our region

Local Story


Tanita Lockwood returned home from the store Friday afternoon, Sept. 25, 2015 and heard from the street the noise of smoke alarms going off inside her home. She called 911. Tanita lived in the two-story house in the Roseland community on Chicago’s South Side with her family. None of the 10 family members were home when the fire started.

However, Tanita said if she hadn’t heard the alarm warning she might not have been aware of the fire until it was too late. “Who knows if I didn’t hear it? I wouldn’t have paid any attention,” she said. “I might have sat on the porch for a while if I hadn’t heard the smoke detectors.”

Six days earlier, dozens of Red Cross volunteers went door-to-door in Roseland—which has one of the highest numbers of fire fatalities in Northern Illinois—and installed more than 400 smoke alarms as part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign. Five of those new alarms were installed in Tanita’s home.

The Red Cross was notified at 5:44 p.m. of the fire and volunteers arrived shortly after to help Tanita’s family with their immediate needs, including food and shelter. Tanita said she is grateful to the Red Cross for helping her family after the fire and for installing smoke alarms in her home.

“If it helps someone, I want to tell my story,” she said. “Smoke detectors – it’s a must that you have them.”

Youth Engagement: The Pillowcase Project


The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois is proud to be a part of the Pillowcase Project, a preparedness education program for children in grades 3 – 5 which teaches students about personal and family preparedness, local hazards, and basic coping skills. For more information on how you can get involved, please contact Claire Pywell, Regional Preparedness Manager, at (312) 729 – 6265.

See more Photos of the program

Become a volunteer

Want to make a difference in your community?

Help save lives by volunteering for the nationwide Home Fire Preparedness Campaign!

We are looking for individuals who are willing to install free smoke alarms door-to-door and educate community residents about fire safety. Volunteers will participate during large community installation events and also by appointment. If you are interested, please apply here.

A gift of any size supports all of the urgent humanitarian needs of the American Red Cross. For more information visit