To help reduce the number of home fire-related injuries and fatalities, the American Red Cross launched the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign in New Jersey and across the county.
As part of the five-year campaign, the Red Cross is partnering with fire departments and community organizations to help families be bettered prepared for and take important steps to prevent home fires. Volunteers from the Red Cross and partner organizations have been visiting homes in high fire-risk cities talking to families about fire safety and installing free smoke alarms in homes that need them.
“Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death from a home fire in half,” said Steven Sarinelli, regional disaster officer, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “We are proud to bring the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign to cities across the region and are grateful to our volunteers and community partners who have been instrumental in the success of this potentially lifesaving fire safety initiative.”
Since the launch of the campaign in October, the American Red Cross North Jersey Region and its community partners have installed more than 2,200 smoke alarms and educated 1,000 families about fire safety in cities including Perth Amboy, East Orange, Orange, Jersey City, Trenton, Irvington, Paterson, Clifton and Linden.
For Red Cross volunteers like Lisa Saeman the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign has been great way to get involved and give back to the community.
“It’s very rewarding,” Lisa said of her involvement in the campaign. “You feel like you may be saving a life by installing that functioning smoke alarm for the family. From the very first event, my heart felt full. You know you’re helping people.”
The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign continues to expand to cities across the northern half of New Jersey with upcoming events in New Brunswick and Passaic.
“As the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign continues to grow, we look forward to bringing free smoke alarms installations and fire safety information to additional cities and families across the region,” said Sarinelli.
The Red Cross is asking every household across the country to get involved by taking two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing their fire escape plan.
PRACTICE YOUR FIRE ESCAPE PLAN Fire experts agree that when a fire breaks out families have as little as two minutes to escape from their burning home. Regularly practiced fire escape plans ensure all members of your household know what to do should a fire occur. Make sure everyone is able to exit the home in less than two minutes. If you don’t have a fire escape plan, develop one today.
CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARMS All residences should have properly installed, functioning smoke alarms. Check the batteries in your smoke alarms monthly and replace any that aren’t operational immediately. At minimum, smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
To learn more about fire safety and access free tools and resources, visit redcross.org/firesafety.
JOIN US! It is through the time and care of ordinary people that extraordinary things can be accomplished. The Red Cross is always looking for people with various backgrounds, talents and skill levels and is inviting members of the community to become volunteers.
There are many ways people can get involved, including participating in the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. To learn more about Red Cross volunteer opportunities in New Jersey or to register as a volunteer, visit redcross.org.