HARTFORD, Conn., (September 2, 2015) – The American Red Cross Connecticut Chapter and the Hartford Fire Department and Hartford CERT are partnering to offer free smoke alarms and installations to Hartford residents Friday, September 11. The smoke alarm installations are part of the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to fire.
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. The City of Hartford is also reaching out to residents to make them aware of the program.
Red Cross volunteers will be joined by the Hartford Fire Department along with Hartford Community Emergency Response Team to visit homes between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on September 11. 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.
“We are excited to offer these visits,” said Rebecca Johnson, senior director of emergency services with the Connecticut Chapter. “They are easy to schedule, take only about 20 minutes and might prevent a tragedy.”
Johnson said the presence of working smoke alarms in a home cuts in half the risk of someone dying from a home fire. “Smoke alarms save lives and we know that they add valuable escape time when they are installed and working properly,” she added.
The American Red Cross 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.
“We want people to take advantage of this program and we hope to have lots of registrations for installation of these free smoke alarms on September 11.”
One local company participating in the smoke alarm installation project is Cigna, which will have more than 60 employee volunteers fanning out across the city in small teams.
“This project is about improving people’s well-being and sense of security by helping to make their homes safer, so we’re more than happy to roll up our sleeves and do our part,” said David Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation. “It’s also about creating healthier communities, which isn’t just part of Cigna's mission, it’s also our passion.”
Simple Steps to Save Lives
Johnson said 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.” Johnson 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 nearly 800 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.
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.