In just one year, at least 26 people are alive today thanks to a nationwide campaign spearheaded by the American Red Cross to save lives and reduce injuries from home fires. More than 63,000 families are safer thanks to the smoke alarms and safety education they received in their homes from Red Cross volunteers, firefighters and other community partners. And more than 311,000 children have learned to be safer in emergencies from Red Cross volunteers and apps.
“In this country, seven people lose their lives every day from a home fire,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the Hawaii Red Cross. “Even one death from a home fire is tragic, because many of these deaths are preventable. When communities work together, we know we can reach more families, install life-saving smoke alarms in their homes and teach fire safety.”
The American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Working alongside fire departments and community groups across the country, the Red Cross and its partners have installed more than 125,000 smoke alarms in nearly 2,400 cities and towns.
People of all ages are vulnerable to home fires. During the course of this campaign, we were gratified and thrilled that among others, the lives were saved of a two-month-old baby, a 73-year-old grandmother, and 11 members of an extended New Orleans family by new smoke alarms that the Red Cross and our partners installed.
BY THE NUMBERS
Launching nationwide in October 2014, the Red Cross and more than 1,900 local partners and 40 national partners have:
• Saved 26 lives in six states (Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana, South Dakota and Texas)
• Installed more than 125,000 smoke alarms in nearly 2,400 cities and towns
• Reached more than 485,000 people with safety information, including more than 311,000 youth
• Visited more than 63,000 homes 50 states and 3 territories
On Saturday, a dozen Hawaii Red Cross volunteers canvassed 70 homes with fire safety and free smoke alarm installation sign-up information in the Pauoa Valley neighborhood surrounding the home of two elderly residents who perished in a fire last month. Volunteers included Boy Scouts from Manoa Troop 33. Council Member Carol Fukunaga, Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, and House Representative Sylvia Luke partnered with the Red Cross to notify residents of this event.
“Working smoke alarms cut the risk of death by home fires in half. As part of our lifesaving mission, Red Cross volunteers are educating the community and providing vital information on fire safety and the importance of maintaining working smoke alarms,” explained Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO, Hawaii Red Cross. “Saturday’s canvassing effort was not only to educate residents about fire prevention, but to actually sign them up to receive free smoke alarms that will be installed by the Honolulu Fire Department and Red Cross volunteers in mid-October. When a home fire or other disaster occurs, the Red Cross assists with the immediate needs of those affected such as food, clothing, shelter and crisis counseling. Unfortunately, the Red Cross is called to help after tragedies occur; this is a way to help prevent them,” Matayoshi said.
TWO MINUTES TO ESCAPE
It is estimated that you may have only two minutes to get out after a fire starts in your home. As part of the campaign, the Red Cross is also asking every household in America to join us in taking two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home. Every family should develop a fire escape plan, and practice it.
People can support those affected by disasters like home fires by making a donation to the Hawaii Red Cross or volunteering. Go to redcross.org/hawaii for more information.