While floods, wildfires and tornadoes tend to dominate the headlines, people often underestimate the frequency and devastation caused by home fires.
“That’s where the Red Cross comes in,” said Jarrett Barrios, CEO, American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. “Our work doesn’t end after the smoke clears — every day local volunteers are helping people to recover and get better prepared.”
In 2014, the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region helped more people affected by home fires than all other disasters combined. Local volunteers worked around-the-clock to provide assistance to more than 1,700 victims of home fires food, blankets and comfort when they had nowhere else to turn.
In addition, the local Red Cross provided financial support to more than 475 local households in the aftermath of home fires to help replace lost belongings and begin the long road to recovery. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to a disaster in the community every 8 minutes and the vast majority of these are home fires.
Curbing Deaths and Injuries from Home Fires
Because of the high number of home fires in this country, the Red Cross launched a campaign this year to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. The organization is asking every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.
In the last three months of 2014, the Red Cross Los Angeles Region — in partnership with fire departments and community groups — reached 336 people by installing 177 free smoke alarms in high-impact neighborhoods in South L.A. and Long Beach.
In January 2015, 297 lives were made safer through the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign in Pasadena. Throughout the month, nearly 300 Red Cross volunteers visited 96 homes in high-impact areas of Pasadena over the course of four weekends to distribute information and install free smoke alarms. Altogether, Red Cross volunteers installed 222 smoke alarms and replaced batteries for 30 smoke alarms.
Updated February 3rd.