Every 8 minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster- and the vast majority of these are home fires. 7 people die every day in a home fire and in a typical year, home fires kill more people than all other natural disasters combined in the United States. Smoke alarms cut the rate of death in half. In an effort to save lives, the Red Cross is targeting vulnerable populations like the elderly, poor, and disabled, and installing free smoke alarms in their homes.
“Home fires can be a deadly threat because they happen so quickly,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the Hawaii Red Cross. “National Fire Prevention Week is a perfect time for Hawaii residents to learn what they should do to prevent a fire in their home.”
JOIN THE RED CROSS HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN The American Red Cross and partners across the country have set a goal to install 45,000 smoke alarms in homes during the month of October as part of the ongoing Red Cross Home Fire Campaign. The multi-year campaign kicked off in October of 2014 with a goal to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent during the five years of the campaign. Working with fire departments and community groups across the entire country, the Red Cross installs smoke alarms in homes in neighborhoods at high risk for home fires. In the last two years, more than half a million smoke alarms have been installed as part of the Home Fire Campaign.
In Hawaii, 1,575 alarms have been installed since 2014, making 459 households safer. Nationwide, 473,228 alarms have been installed, making 204,362 households safer and saving 111 lives across the country.
In September, companies like FICOH and Grainger volunteered with our partners IBEW, Local Union 1186 and the Honolulu Fire Department to install 351 regular smoke alarms and 18 adaptive smoke alarms, making 90 homes safer. This week, other corporate partners like Nordstrom will be going to homes to install smoke alarms in homes in need.
To volunteer for the home fire program or to learn more about upcoming smoke alarm installations, visit redcross.org/hawaii.
The American Red Cross is also asking every household in America to take some simple steps that can help prevent home fires and save lives.
INSTALL AND TEST SMOKE ALARMS Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half:
• Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms.
• Test smoke alarms once a month.
• Change the batteries at least once a year – if your model requires it.
• Replace smoke alarms every ten years.
MAKE A PLAN People may only have two minutes to escape when a fire occurs. The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year. Everyone 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 all household members and practice it until everyone – including children – can escape in less than two minutes
DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross Emergency App includes content on how to prevent home fires and what to do if one occurs. Parents can download the Monster Guard App to help their children learn what to do and how to protect themselves. Both apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or by going to redcross.org/apps.