FLOWOOD, Miss., Monday, Sept. 22, 2014— Home fires are the greatest disaster threat to American families. National statistics show seven people die every day from home fires. And, a fire-related injury is reported every 40 minutes. This year alone, Mississippi has reported 43 fire-related fatalities. To help reduce injuries and save lives that are lost to preventable causes like home fires, the American Red Cross Mississippi Region is launching a national home fire preparedness campaign in hopes of reducing the number of injuries and deaths caused from home fires by 25 percent within the next five years.
“Even one death or injury is unacceptable which is why we are implementing this national campaign across our state,” said Bob Devaney, Mississippi Region Disaster Program Officer.
By mobilizing the power of volunteers and engaging the assistance of community partners and donors, the Red Cross will launch a campaign incorporating the following components:
1. Door-to-door installation of smoke alarms and home-safety checklists in vulnerable neighborhoods;
2. Engagement of youth in classrooms and after school with technology, challenges and science-based education;
3. A marketing and public relations campaign to motivate people to take action to save themselves, their families and their neighbors by checking smoke alarms and practicing evacuation when the alarm goes off.
Based on fire-data collected by the American Red Cross from 2007 to 2012, 10 cities in Mississippi have been identified as those having the highest number of severe fire incidents, deaths and injuries and will be among the first to launch local home fire preparedness campaigns. The cities are Biloxi, Gautier, Grenada, Greenville, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Laurel, Meridian, Starkville and Vicksburg.
Five initial community launches are taking place this fall including: September 27, Greenville; October 7, Laurel; October 10, Vicksburg; October 11, Gautier; and October 18, Starkville. The program is expected to expand into the remaining five targeted cities as well as other identified vulnerable communities across the state.
Working together in communities across the country and here in Mississippi, the Red Cross and partners are establishing local coalitions of fire departments, houses of worship, businesses, schools, social service agencies, neighborhood leaders and others to mobilize resources and volunteers in support of local home fire preparedness.
To find out more about how you and your community can become involved in Mississippi’s Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, contact your local Red Cross office, http://www.redcross.org/mississippi/about/chapters. For more information about the national Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, visit