Be Prepared for Home Fires


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

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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.

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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 Massachusetts we have:

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Visited 95 cities and towns in our region

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Reached more than 6,200 youth with preparedness information

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Conducted 2,300 in-home visits

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Created 2,300 evacuation plans

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Installed more than 6,320 smoke alarms

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Home fires cause more deaths each year than any other disaster and affect more people than floods, tornados, and hurricanes combined. In fact, the majority of 70,000 disasters the Red Cross responds to each year are home fires. “Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire,” said Mary Nathan, Disaster Program Manager for American Red Cross of Western Massachusetts. “Smoke alarms save lives.” Through its nationwide Home Fire Campaign program, the Red Cross wants to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years. To accomplish this goal, the Red Cross will install more than 1 million smoke alarms around the country. The local program was launched at the Raymond M. Sullivan Safety Complex in Springfield with the help of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Springfield Fire Marshall David Rivera, and Andrea Luppi from Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. One of those homes belonged to Vietnam Veteran Robert McLaughlin. A 36-year resident of Springfield, McLaughlin learned about the program through a doorknob flyer from the Red Cross. McLaughlin has smoke detectors, but they’re old and he knows the importance of new equipment, especially in a mobile home park. “A lot of people don’t realize that (mobile home) units go up so fast,” said McLaughlin. “(The) place just melts.” McLaughlin appreciated the help and would recommend the program to his neighbors. “It’s money well spent (by the Red Cross). If one person gets out (safely) it’s worth it.” Residents like McLaughlin who wish to participate in the program should meet three criteria:

  • Own their home
  • Live in a home built prior to 1975
  • Have current alarms that are at least 10 years old or non-existent.

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