You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Preferred Mutual Supports Red Cross' Home Fire Campaign

Red Cross - Southern Tier - Home Fire Campaign
The American Red Cross’ Home Fire Campaign will help Southern Tier community members be better prepared for an emergency, lessening the devastating impacts of a catastrophe.

Seven times per day on average, a person dies in a fire in this country. To reduce the number of fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years, the American Red Cross has launched the nationwide Home Fire Campaign.

Preferred Mutual Insurance Company is teaming up with the Southern Tier Chapter of the American Red Cross to support the campaign in Chenango and Tioga counties. Headquartered in New Berlin (Chenango County), Preferred Mutual has donated $5,000 to the Red Cross for its Home Fire Campaign initiatives in those counties.

As part of the campaign, Red Cross staff and volunteers are installing free smoke alarms in communities that have experienced a high number of fires. In addition to offering smoke alarms and free installation, the Red Cross is providing fire safety education for the residents in vulnerable areas in Chenango and Tioga counties.

“At Preferred Mutual, we help our policyholders ‘Live Assured’ not only by providing financial assistance after a catastrophe, but also through education and awareness before disaster strikes,” said Christopher P. Taft, President & CEO of Preferred Mutual. “We’ve seen firsthand that those people and organizations that are best able to recover from a disaster are the ones who have prepared in advance.

“Not only have they planned for their insurance needs with their agent, but they’ve prepared for their family and workplace needs, have the supplies needed to survive, practiced what to do in an emergency situation, and have an awareness of the types of disasters that are common in their areas,” Taft said. “The American Red Cross’ Home Fire Campaign will help Southern Tier community members be better prepared for an emergency, lessening the devastating impacts of a catastrophe. That’s a win-win for everyone.”

Home fires affect more people annually in the United States than floods, tornadoes and hurricanes combined, according to statistics compiled by the American Red Cross. The Red Cross is asking every household in America to take the two simple steps that can save lives: check existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home. For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit

“We want to thank Preferred Mutual for their support of our Home Fire Campaign that is already saving lives across the country and will do the same right here in the Southern Tier,” said Shelley Bierwiler, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Southern Tier Chapter. “Since studies show that two out of every three home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms, Preferred Mutual’s support of this program will clearly save lives.”

Anyone interested in having a free smoke alarm installed in their home should contact Jill Deskins, Disaster Program Manager for the Southern Tier Chapter, at or (607) 785-7207.

Home Fire and Smoke Alarm Facts:

  • Home fires in the United States kill more than 2,500 people annually and cause an average of 13,000 injuries. (These figures do not include firefighter deaths or injuries.)
  • Home fires cause nearly $7 billion in property damage annually.
  • Smoke alarms are either missing or non-functional in 73 percent of rural home fires.
  • Nearly two-thirds of all fire-related deaths occur in homes that have no functioning smoke alarms.