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Home Fire Campaign Reaches 450 New Jersey Families in March

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All households can participate by testing their smoke alarms and practicing their fire escape plan.

As part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, the Red Cross North Jersey Region has partnered with municipalities, fire departments and community groups across the northern half of the state to help reduce fire-related injuries and fatalities. 

In March alone, the Red Cross North Jersey Region and our community partners installed 460 smoke alarms in homes that needed them and taught hundreds of families about fire safety during Home Fire Preparedness Campaign events in Orange, Paterson and East Orange. 


“We are happy to be bringing the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign to communities across the region,” said Steven Sarinelli, regional disaster officer, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “We are grateful to all of our community partners whose support has been instrumental to the success of this potentially lifesaving fire safety initiative.”

ORANGE Volunteers from the Red Cross, the Orange Fire Department and the City of Orange Township went door-to-door in the city’s East Ward on Saturday, March 7 installing free smoke alarms and talking to families about their fire escape plan during the first in a series of fire safety canvassing events planned for Orange. Together the volunteers installed 160 smoke alarms in homes that needed them.

PATERSON During March, volunteers have been visiting Paterson homes to help families be better prepared for and take important steps to prevent home fires. During the visits, volunteers with the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, a campaign partner, installed free smoke alarms while Red Cross volunteers spoke with families about fire safety and helped them develop a fire escape plan. 

So far, the on-going campaign efforts in Paterson have reached 59 families with fire safety information and provided 218 smoke alarms to families that needed them. 

EAST ORANGE On Saturday, March 28 Red Cross volunteers joined forces once again with the East Orange Fire Department, the City of East Orange, the East Orange Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the East Orange Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) for a second fire safety canvassing event. 

Volunteers canvassed neighborhoods in the city’s Third Ward offering free smoke alarm installations, distributing fire safety information and talking with families about what they can do now to be prepared should a fire break out in their home. Volunteers installed more than 175 smoke alarms during the event.

In October, the Red Cross announced the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign in New Jersey and across the country to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years. Since the launch of the campaign, the Red Cross North Jersey Region and our community partners have installed more than 800 smoke alarms in high fire-risk cities including East Orange, Perth Amboy, Orange and Paterson.

“I encourage all households to participate in the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign by testing their smoke alarms and practicing their family’s fire escape plan,” said Sarinelli.

SIMPLE STEPS TO SAVE LIVES 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?

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States and the vast majority of those are home fires. Throughout New Jersey, the Red Cross responded to 1,063 home fires last year, offering comfort to 1,680 families and meeting immediate needs such as shelter, food and clothing, referrals and mental health services as needed. Learn how you can help the Red Cross #GiveWhatFireTakes.

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