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Fire Safety Canvass Set for April 25 in Groton

The presence of working smoke alarms cuts the risk of someone dying from a home fire in half.

GROTON, CONN., April 13, 2015 – The American Red Cross Connecticut Chapter will visit residents of Groton on Saturday, April 25, to discuss fire safety and install smoke alarms as part of its Home Fire Preparedness Campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to fire. Residents can schedule a visit or volunteer to join the canvass by contacting the Town of Groton Office of Emergency Management by email at reverse911@groton-ct.gov or calling the Red Cross at (860) 447-3249 extension 15.

Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire. Countless others suffer injuries. To combat these tragic statistics, the Red Cross has launched a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25 percent over the next five years.

Red Cross volunteers will be in Groton on Saturday, April 25, beginning at 9:00 a.m., visiting residents to share fire safety and preparedness information and to install smoke alarms in homes where no such alarms are present. Canvassers will help families understand the importance of fire safety and help them develop personalized family escape plans to use in the event a fire breaks out in their home.

“The visits generally last about 20 minutes,” said Sue Rochester Bolen, Senior Director of Emergency Services with the Connecticut Chapter. She added that residents wishing to schedule a visit should email the Town’s Office of Emergency Management at reverse911@groton-ct.gov  or call the Red Cross at (860) 447-3249 extension 15 to request an appointment or to sign up as a volunteer participant in the canvass. “We will have Red Cross volunteers and Town personnel participating, but extra hands are always appreciated.”

The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign brings Red Cross workers together with local fire departments and community partners to share fire safety tools and tips in home visits with residents. Those visits include educating people about fire safety through one-on-one conversations and free installation of smoke alarms in homes where no working smoke alarms are present.

“The presence of working smoke alarms in a home cuts the risk of someone dying from a home fire in half,” Bolen said.

Bolen thanked the Town of Groton Fire and Emergency Management Departments for their participation in and support of the canvass. “We are grateful to the Town for helping us spread this important message,” Bolen said. “We share a common interest in protecting residents and building a stronger, more resilient community.”

Simple Steps to Save Lives

Bolen said that early detection of fire and an escape plan are vital to safely surviving a home fire. “Fire experts agree that you could have as little as two minutes to escape a home in the event of a fire. Smoke alarms can notify you of fire and an escape plan can reduce panic and time spent getting out of your home.” Bolen added that canvassers will share information and tools to help families develop a personalized escape plan.

The Red Cross is asking everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.

There are several things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire:

--If you do not have smoke alarms in your home, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements in your community.

--If you do have smoke alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.

--Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.

--Practice that plan. What’s the household’s escape time?

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States and the vast majority of those are home fires. In Connecticut, the Red Cross responded to 797 disasters last year. Nearly all of those responses were residential fires. You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.