The Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross is installing free smoke alarms in the Rolling Hills Mobile Home Park on Saturday, March 4. Rolling Hills was the site of a large fire in January that sent four family members to the hospital with burn injuries. Anyone wishing to help install smoke alarms at the park can contact the Red Cross at 937-548-2030.
While it is not known if the mobile home that caught fire on Monday had working smoke alarms, research shows that having working smoke alarms in a home increases the chances of survival by 50 percent. The reason is simple: Time. As a result of modern synthetic fabrics and other factors, homes today burn as much as eight times faster than homes did 30 years ago. The fires also produce thicker, denser smoke that is filled with carbon monoxide, cyanide and other toxins, which is the most common cause of death.
With fires burning so much faster and hotter, occupants have just two to three minutes to escape a home once a fire starts. Smoke alarms—especially when combined with an escape plan and knowing what to do once they go off—really do save lives.
"The best way to escape a home fire is to know the home is on fire," says Lynne Gump, Executive Director of the Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross, "and the best way to know if there is a fire is to have a working smoke alarm. With homes today burning so much faster and hotter, in many cases, you have just two minutes to escape your home once it catches on fire. That may seem like a lot of time, but it’s not, especially while dealing with blinding, toxic smoke. Smoke alarms give you extra time and increase your chances of survival by 50 percent.”
The Red Cross has a nationwide campaign in which it is installing free smoke alarms in any home as a way to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires. To date, more than 150 lives have been saved as a result of the effort. In the six-county Northern Miami Valley area, the Red Cross installed more than 1,700 free smoke alarms last year.
The smoke alarms—as well as all disaster-related services provided by the Red Cross—are free. The Red Cross is not a governmental agency, though, so the costs to provide these services comes from donations provided by the generosity of the American public. Anyone wishing to make a donation to support families suffering as a result of disasters such as home fires or purchase life-saving items such as smoke alarms are encouraged to do so. To make a gift, go to RedCross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999.