The American Red Cross and the Medina Volunteer Fire Department have teamed up to save lives in Medina, Texas by installing free smoke alarms and teaching fire safety techniques.
Red Cross volunteers will conduct door-to-door outreach in Medina on Saturday, February 20, 2016 beginning at 10:30 a.m. They will meet with local citizens and teach families how to be better prepared for a home fire by following a few simple safety steps. On Saturday, March 5, 2016 Red Cross workers and Medina volunteer firefighters will work together to install smoke alarms in homes that need them.
This effort is a part of the American Red Cross home fire campaign, which aims to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years nationwide.
Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross campaign focuses on joining fire departments and community groups nationwide to install smoke alarms in communities with high numbers of fires and encouraging everyone to practice their fire escape plans.
“Installing smoke alarms cuts the risk of someone dying from a home fire in half, so we’re joining with groups from across our community to install them for free,” said Phillip Howard, Disaster Preparedness Manager for the American Red Cross, Central & South Texas Region.. “We will also help families make and practice an escape plan so they can get out in time if the unthinkable happens.”
SIMPLE STEPS TO SAVE LIVES Even as the Red Cross and other groups install smoke alarms in some neighborhoods, they are calling on 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 someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, 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 where someone lives.
• If someone does have 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?
2015 SURVEY RESULTS* Many of those surveyed (41 percent) feel confident they can get out of a burning home in less than two minutes. And most parents (64 percent) believe their children would know what to do if a fire occurred.
However, many of these families admitted they didn’t take key steps to help keep their family safe. Only about half of the parents surveyed (52 percent) talked to their families about fire safety. Only 10 percent of families have actually practiced home fire drills. And only about a quarter of families (24 percent) have identified a safe place where family members can meet outside the home.
The survey also shows that Americans are engaging in unsafe behaviors that could result in home fires. More than a third of those surveyed (36 percent) admitted using candles when the power goes out instead of flashlights. And despite cooking being the leading cause of home fires, one in five (17 percent) have left cooking food unattended on the stove.
RED CROSS APPS People can learn how to help prevent a home fire and what to do if one occurs by downloading the Red Cross Emergency App. They can use the app’s Family Safe feature to help stay in touch with loved ones. Children can earn points and incentives in a fun, gaming environment while learning how to prevent a home fire and other emergencies in the Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App. The First Aid App provides expert advice including what to do for burns, broken bones, and breathing and cardiac emergencies. The apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or at 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 homes from fire. To find the location of smoke alarm installation events or to become a volunteer, contact Philip Howard at 830-399-2974. People can 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. We respond to nearly 70,000 other disasters every year, from home fires to wildfires and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.