Be Prepared for Home Fires


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

timer icon

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.

smoke alarm icon

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 the Chicago and Northern Illinois Region we have:

city skyline icon

Visited 22 cities and towns in our region

graduation cap icon

Reached more than 4,800 youth with preparedness information

families icon

Conducted 1,370 in-home visits.

evacuation icon

Created 5,600 evacuation plans.

smoke alarm icon

Installed 4,370 smoke alarms

red cross volunteer helps victim in shelter

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.

girl with red cross volunteers

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

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