PHOENIX (Oct. 9, 2012) – It’s National Fire Prevention Week, and the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter is encouraging families and businesses to learn how to better protect themselves.
Last year, Red Cross volunteers responded to a home fire every 14 hours within the Grand Canyon Chapter’s jurisdiction – a population of more than 5.1 million people over 10 of 15 Arizona counties. The Red Cross assisted about 30 people who were displaced Sunday by a fire that damaged 12 units at Willow Springs Apartments in Phoenix, setting up an overnight shelter at Metro Tech High School in Phoenix. Nationwide in 2010, there were more than 369,000 home fires, resulting in 2,600-plus deaths, and in 2011, the Red Cross responded to an estimated 63,000 home fires, providing food, clothing and shelter, as well as basic necessities and emotional support, for 82,000 families.
“The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones from fire is install a smoke alarm and develop and practice an escape plan,” Grand Canyon Chapter Emergency Services Director Dan Curtiss said. “Fires can spread very quickly, so everyone should know what to do when they hear a smoke alarm.”
To ensure your safety, the Red Cross recommends putting smoke alarms on every level of your house, including inside your bedrooms. You should replace the batteries in smoke detectors at least once a year and check smoke detectors monthly by pushing the test button, as functioning smoke detectors cut the risk of dying in home fires in half. Members of your household ought to know two ways to escape from every room, and after designating a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire, you should practice your plan at least twice a year. Above all, if your house is on fire, get out as rapidly as possible, get away from your house and don’t re-enter your house, then call 911.
Fire is the most common business disaster. Non-residential building fires resulted in $2.4 billion in losses in 2010, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Businesses can prepare for fires by becoming a member of the Red Cross Ready Rating Program at www.readyrating.org – complete a free assessment of your readiness level and get feedback with tips to improve your preparedness.
In a proclamation signed by Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs for Grand Canyon Chapter Chief Executive Officer Bill Epps, the City of Glendale has recognized October as Fire Prevention Month. Red Cross volunteers will partake in National Safety Weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Sears at Paradise Valley Mall, offering resources on personal safety and preparedness. The Red Cross also has four more disaster preparedness education workshops this month in Arizona.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. It’s a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Grand Canyon Chapter, established in 1916, re-chartered in 1999 and expanded in 2003, ranks as the fifth-largest chapter nationally, serving the more than 5.1 million people in Apache, Coconino, Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma counties. For more information on the Grand Canyon Chapter, please visit www.arizonaredcross.org, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/redcrossgcc or follow us on Twitter under the handle @RedCrossGCC.