Eleven lives were saved recently when smoke alarms installed as part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign alerted a New Orleans family about an early morning fire that destroyed their home.
The campaign, almost a year old, is now credited with helping save 26 lives since it began in October of last year.
The fire on Danneel Street in the Central City area of New Orleans broke out about 3:00 a.m. and silently spread up inside the walls of the building that included three residential units. Eleven people were asleep when the fire started. All eleven, including a two-month-old baby, made it out safely – thanks to the sound of smoke alarms installed during the winter through an ongoing partnership with the Red Cross and New Orleans Fire Department.
Glen Riley was jolted awake by the smoke alarm and knew that his family and neighbors needed to get out fast. He started waking people up, and they were all able to escape before the smoke became too bad. By the time the fire department put out the fire, it had burned completely through the roof, destroying the home. Red Cross volunteers were also on the scene after the fire, helping the families with immediate needs.
Since the Home Fire Campaign began, the Red Cross and its partners have installed smoke alarms in almost 2,000 cities and towns in all 50 states.
The campaign is a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Working with fire departments and community groups across the country, the Red Cross is installing smoke alarms in homes in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching residents about fire prevention and preparedness.
TWO MINUTES TO GET OUT SAFELY If a fire starts in someone’s home, they may have only two minutes to get out safely. The Red Cross wants everyone to be safe and asks them to take two simple steps now – check their smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home. Every household should develop a fire escape plan and install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. The alarms should be tested every month and the batteries replaced at least once a year.