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Home Fires Top the List of Red Cross Responses in 2014

Home Fires Top the List of Red Cross Responses in 2014
While tornadoes, floods and hurricanes tend to dominate the headlines, people often underestimate the frequency and devastation caused by home fires.

In 2014, the American Red Cross serving Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties helped more people affected by home fires than all other disasters combined. Local volunteers responded at all hours of the day and night with food, blankets and comfort to help 1,670 people with nowhere else to turn after a devastating home fire disrupted their lives.

The Red Cross also provided financial support to over 400 households affected by a home fire to help with immediate needs and to assist in beginning 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.

“While tornadoes, floods and hurricanes 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 Janet Whitcomb, American Red Cross interim regional CEO serving Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties. “Our work doesn’t end after the smoke clears; we’re there to help people to recover and become better prepared to respond to any type of disaster in their future.”

Curbing Deaths and Injuries from Home Fires

Because of the high number of home fires in this country, the Red Cross launched a campaign 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 to stay safe:

1. Test their existing smoke alarms

2. Practice home fire drills and evacuation plans

Since the campaign launched nationally in October, the Red Cross—in partnership with fire departments and community groups nationwide—has already reached more than 29,000 people by installing 17,000 smoke alarms. These efforts have already saved five lives nationwide. This past fall, the Red Cross serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties reached 382 people with fire safety and preparedness information and installed over 120 smoke alarms. In January, during a canvassing event, Red Cross volunteers in Orange County will reach over 600 homes with fire safety and preparedness information and will offer to install free smoke alarms in these homes as well.

The work of the American Red Cross is made possible by the generosity of the American public. You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables us to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.