The Boy Scouts of America Mercer Area District Scouts held their annual Emergency Preparedness Cubarama on Saturday, October 25, 2014 at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor. More than a dozen American Red Cross volunteers were on hand to help teach the scouts about disaster preparedness and fire safety.
The volunteers were able to provide more than 250 scouts and their families with tools and resources to help them be better prepared for disasters, including home fires.
“Home fires represent the majority of disasters the Red Cross responds to each year,” said Paul Gass, regional preparedness manager, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “It’s critical that homes have operational smoke alarms and that all members of the family – including children – know and regularly practice that plan.”
Red Cross volunteers Rodney Templon and Ruth Jackson talked to eight-year-old Michael Killian of Hamilton about the importance of fire safety. Rodney showed Michael how to test a smoke alarm to ensure it is functioning and asked him about his family’s fire escape plan.
“If the fire is near the back door, we go out the front,” Michael explained. “If there fire is near the front, we go out the back and we meet at the driveway.”
In the event of a fire, experts agree that when a fire breaks out families have as little as two minutes to escape from their burning home. Regularly practiced fire escape plans ensure all members of your household know what to do should a fire occur. Each household’s fire escape plan should include two ways to escape from each room in the home and predetermined meeting place outside.
Michael says his favorite part of the day was touring the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle where he learned about Red Cross disaster response.
“The kids were fascinated by everything that is in the ERV,” said Tom. “I think we brought a great message to young kids of what the American Red Cross does.”
The scouts learned how Disaster Action Teams of volunteers respond to disasters around the clock to help families displaced by home fires and how these teams provide emotional support and emergency assistance for needs such as temporary lodging, food and clothing.
The Red Cross offers free fire safety materials to help families create a fire escape plan, as well as resources and activities to help children learn how to prepare for emergencies at redcross.org/prepare.
ESCAPING FAST FLAMES Watch this video on Today.com. In a revealing experiment, a Connecticut family is tested on what would happen if they had a fire in their home. NBC national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen reports.