Seven times a day in the United States someone dies in a home fire. Every 40 minutes an injury from a fire is reported. Nearly 1000 times every day fire departments are called to home fires. Almost as frequently, American Red Cross volunteers provide help to families who have lost their homes to devastating fires.
This fall the American Red Cross, in partnership with a variety of organizations, has launched the National Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. This five-year campaign is a two-prong preparedness strategy. The goals are to save lives that are lost to preventable causes like home fires and to improve the resilience of the social safety net in the face of disasters. By the end of the fifth year the Red Cross hopes to see a 25 percent reduction in fatalities caused by home fires.
A cornerstone of the campaign is going door-to-door in neighborhoods determined to be at risk for home fires and where homes do not have working smoke alarms. Data show that having a working smoke alarm can double someone’s chance of surviving a fire. Using data from the past five years those neighborhoods at greatest risk have been identified and the work has already begun. In Colorado there were several communities identified as being at high risk for death or injury due to a home fire. The risk was determined based on that community’s history of home fires resulting in a fatality or an injury.
The communities were then broken down by ZIP code and ranked according to risk. The ZIP codes with the highest risk of a fatality or injury caused by a home fire are:
80219 - Denver
80231 - Denver
81004 - Pueblo
80229 - Denver
80521 - Fort Collins
81501 - Grand Junction
81001 - Pueblo
80218 - Denver
81003 - Pueblo
80030 - Westminster
The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign kicked off in Colorado in mid-September when volunteers began canvassing efforts in Pueblo and Colorado Springs. In October canvassing will be done in neighborhoods in Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. The canvassing will start in the Denver metro area in November and in other communities over the next few months.
The door-to-door visits will provide residents with a home fire safety checklist and installation of a smoke alarm or set up a follow-up visit by the local fire department to install a smoke alarm.
“This is a five-year campaign that will involve our Red Cross volunteers and volunteers from many other organizations,” said Gino Greco, CEO for the Colorado & Wyoming Region of the American Red Cross. “We will be at this for several months and our ultimate goal is to save lives.”
By mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors, the American Red Cross and our partners have launched an unprecedented, nationwide effort to combine technology and innovation with old-fashioned neighbor-to-neighbor outreach.