You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Every 8 Minutes, the Red Cross Responds to a Home Fire

Check your smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.

The American Red Cross is promoting a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.

Across the country, the Red Cross is working with fire departments and community groups to install smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires, teaching people about fire safety as they canvass these communities.

EVERY EIGHT MINUTES Home fires are the biggest disaster threat people face in this country. The Red Cross responds to help a family affected by a home fire every 8 minutes. For families who may experience these fires, it can mean they lose everything, often getting out of the burning home with only the clothes they are wearing.

The Red Cross is asking every household in America to take two two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.

You can also help people affected by fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Your generosity can help provide what families need after a fire:

  • $45 can provide fire safety training and installation of smoke alarms to protect one home.
  • $100 can feed 10 people after an emergency, making sure victims maintain their strength during a stressful time.
  • $200 can house a family of four people in an emergency shelter for a full day when they have no place to go after a house fire or other disaster.
  • TRUE OR FALSE – TWO MINUTES TO GET OUT? Fire experts agree that people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home. However, a recent survey conducted for the Red Cross shows that many Americans (62 percent) mistakenly believe they have at least five minutes to escape and about 18 percent believe they have ten minutes or more to get out.

    About 42 percent of those polled said they could get out of a burning home in two minutes and almost 7 in 10 parents (69 percent) believed their children would know what to do or how to get out with little help.

    However, the poll showed these parents had taken few actions to support their level of confidence about their children’s ability to escape a fire:

  • Less than one in five families with children age 3-17 (18 percent) have actually practiced home fire drills.
  • Less than half of parents (48 percent) have talked to their families about fire safety.
  • Only one third of families with children (30 percent) have identified a safe place to meet outside their home.
  • The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross July 17-20, 2014 using ORC International’s Online CARAVAN omnibus survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,130 American adults, including 311 parents of children aged 3-17. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the US adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education. The margin of error for the total sample of 1,130 adults is +/- 2.92 percent. The margin of error for the sample of 311 parents is +/- 5.56 percent.

    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. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.