Home Fires Are Biggest Disaster Threat Faced in the U.S.
The Connecticut American Red Cross and the City of Stamford are joining together to offer free smoke alarms and installations to residents in Stamford on Thursday, December 1.
The smoke alarm installations are part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries.
Residents can schedule a visit by visiting www.redcross.org/ct/schedule-a-visit or by calling 877-287-3327 and choosing option 1 on the menu to request a smoke alarm installation.
Red Cross volunteers will be joined by members of the Stamford Fire Department to visit homes between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on December 1. Teams making visits will share fire safety and preparedness information and install smoke alarms in homes as requested. Volunteers 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.
“Our mission at the American Red Cross is to prevent and alleviate human suffering caused by disasters,” said Mario Bruno, CEO, American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region. “Home fires are the biggest disaster threat faced in the U.S. On average, in our region, we respond to about two home fires each day. Our goal is to reach as many homes as we can with this program to help ensure people know what to do and are prepared in the event they experience a home fire.”
“Early detection of smoke is key to survival in any house fire,” said Stamford Fire Chief Trevor Roach. “Three out of five fire deaths occur in properties without working smoke alarms and the risk of your family dying in a fire is cut in half by the installation of working smoke alarms. Stamford Fire Department is proud to partner with the Red Cross to ensure all of our residents are protected by working smoke alarms.”
In addition to providing free smoke alarm installations and education, the Red Cross is also looking for volunteers to help install smoke alarms for this event and in their community throughout the year. Home Fire Campaign Volunteers are trained by the Red Cross, can volunteer during the day or on weekends and can help make a difference in their community. For more information on volunteering visit: http://www.redcross.org/local/connecticut/volunteer.
Since October of 2014, the Red Cross has worked with fire departments and community groups across the country as part of a multi-year campaign to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent; home fires remain the biggest disaster threat to individuals and families in the United States. 60 percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. This campaign is in direct response to that dire threat, with the Red Cross committing to install 2.5 million free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires, and to educate those residents about fire prevention and preparedness. As of August 2016, the Red Cross and partners have saved at least 100 lives as part of this campaign.
Since the Home Fire campaign began, nearly 450,000 smoke alarms have been installed in all 50 states and four territories, and it has reached nearly 570,000 children through campaign youth preparedness education programs, such as The Pillowcase Project.
HOME FIRE SAFETY Most home fires can be prevented. Homeowners should avoid using items that can be hazardous, such as candles and space heaters – common items that can turn dangerous very quickly.
To help avoid a fire in the home, here are steps to take now:
• Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area, placing them on the ceiling or high on the wall.
• Put a smoke alarm inside every bedroom.
• Test the smoke alarms regularly. Install new batteries every year, or according to the alarm manufacturer’s instructions.
• Conduct a smoke alarm check for your loved ones. Make sure that older relatives, other family members and neighbors – particularly those with children – also have smoke alarms installed.
• Get new smoke alarms every ten years.
• Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.
• Never smoke in bed.
• Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
PRACTICE YOUR DRILL You may only have two minutes to escape when a fire occurs, but most people mistakenly believe they have more than twice as long to get out. The Red Cross recommends that 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 safe place to meet outside the home in case of a fire. Discuss the plan with everyone in the household and practice until every member of your household – including children – can escape in less than two minutes.
RED CROSS APPS People can download the all-inclusive Red Cross Emergency app which combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe. And there is a special mobile app - Monster Guard - designed for kids, teaching them to prepare for emergencies at home by playing an engaging game. Users can find the apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO People can visit redcross.org/homefires to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved ones from a fire. They can become a Red Cross volunteer. They can also help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
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/ct or visit us on Twitter at @CTRedCross.