The biggest disaster threat to American families isn’t floods or tornadoes; it’s fire. The American Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes and nearly all are home fires. On Saturday, July 19, 2014, Red Cross volunteers will join firefighters and volunteers in Arlington, Iowa to help residents take the number one lifesaving step to protect their homes and loved ones.
On January 24, 2014, a house fire killed five people (three adults and two children) in a home about four miles southwest of Arlington. That’s why the Red Cross serving Greater Iowa is partnering with the Arlington Fire Department, Arlington EMS, Fayette County Sheriff’s Department and Fayette County Emergency Management to check and install smoke alarms.
Volunteers will canvass Arlington neighborhoods testing smoke alarms and installing new batteries or new dual-sensor smoke alarms, as needed. Volunteers will also provide preparedness information on fire and severe weather to homeowners and renters. Installed smoke alarms are free to residents in the canvass area.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases the chances of surviving a deadly home fire.
MAKE A PLAN - The Red Cross recommends households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home. People should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside the home in case of a fire.
Other Safety Steps Include:
• Follow the escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
• Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.
• Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
• Download the Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies including burns. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.
The Red Cross in Iowa is committed to making our communities more fire safe and is working with the Iowa State Fire Marshal and fire departments across the state to continue that mission.
Recent Smoke Alarm Installation Projects Include:
• On December 15, 2012, more than 80 volunteers from across the state installed smoke alarms throughout the town of Lake City following the deaths of three children and an adult in a November fire. A year later, a family of six was saved when a smoke alarm installed by firefighters and Red Cross volunteers alerted them to a fire.
• On September 11, 2013, volunteers with the Red Cross, the United Way of Wapello County, Ottumwa Fire Department and Wapello County Rural Fire installed 221 smoke alarms and provided disaster preparedness information to more than 500 homes.
• On October 12, 2013, 475 volunteers with the Red Cross and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints partnered with the Des Moines Fire Department and canvassed the Highland Park neighborhood. Volunteers knocked on nearly 3,000 doors and installed more than 2,100 smoke alarms in one day! The Des Moines fire department continues that effort each and every day.
• On May 7, 2014, Red Cross volunteers, Newton High School students and Newton firefighters canvassed “high risk” neighborhoods as part of “Newton Red Pride Day. “ Volunteers knocked on 212 doors, and installed new smoke alarms or replaced batteries in more than 80 homes.