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Greater New York, Busiest Region in the Country for the Red Cross

Greater New York, Busiest Region in the Country for the Red Cross.

Photo Credit: Marko Kokic

"In 2014 the Greater NY Red Cross assisted more than 10,000 residents following 2390 incidents."

In 2014, the American Red Cross assisted more people across the country following home fires than all other disasters combined.

And in no region does the Red Cross provide more assistance following home fires and other local disasters than in Greater New York (New York City, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley). The spike in fires over these past few days, which saw large fires on Gouverneur Ave. in the Bronx and on Eastern Pkwy in Brooklyn, serve as reminders of just how prevalent and destructive home fires can be.

In 2014 the Greater NY Red Cross assisted more than 10,000 residents following 2390 incidents (see map of NYC disaster responses), the majority of which are home fires. This represents an increase in incidents when compared to 2013. Red Cross emergency assistance came in the form of emergency lodging, physical health assistance, emotional support, food, blankets, financial assistance; and/or other help.

Although 2014 saw many large fires that made the news (i.e. the fatal Hamilton Heights 5-alarm on 8/18/14, the multiple-alarm fire in Flatbush on 7/4/14, and the 5-alarm in Ozone Park on 12/18/14), the majority of these incidents were apartment fires affecting one or two families.

Despite the high instance of home fires in NYC and across the country, a national survey conducted for the Red Cross last year shows that people mistakenly believe they have more time than they really do to escape a burning home. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape to safety before it’s too late to get out. But most Americans (62 percent) mistakenly believe they have at least five minutes to escape, more than twice the amount they actually have. Nearly 18 percent erroneously believe they have ten minutes or more to get out.

When asked about their confidence levels in escaping a burning home, about 42 percent of those polled said they could get out in two minutes. Nearly seven in 10 parents (69 percent) believe their children would know what to do or how to escape with little help.

However, the poll showed few actions had been taken that would support the level of confidence of parents about their children’s ability to escape a fire:

  • Less than one in five families with children age 3-17 (18 percent) have actually practiced home fire drills.
  • Less than half of parents (48 percent) have talked to their families about fire safety.
  • Only one third of families with children (30 percent) have identified a safe place to meet outside their home.
  • To learn more about fire safety, visit www.redcross.org/firesafety.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/gny or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossNY.

    About Red Cross Corporate Supporters:

    The Red Cross proudly thanks these New York-based corporate partners for their foresight to pre-invest in Red Cross disaster relief. The generosity of these donors ensures that the Red Cross is there to meet the needs of those who rely on us. Thank you.

  • Annual Disaster Giving Program Partners: American Express, BNY Mellon, Citi, Pepsico
  • Disaster Responder Partners: AXA, H&M, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Morgan Stanley, MetLife Foundation, UBS, Swiss Re Foundation
  • Lead Sponsor, Home Fire Preparedness Campaign: Airbnb