The American Red Cross has responded to nearly 275 home fires across the 45 county region since November. In just that short time, disaster volunteers have provided assistance to nearly 300 families that have been affected by those fires. Tragically, 17 residents have passed away in their homes because of those fires. Volunteers have been responding to these home fires to provide comfort, support, and provide for immediate needs such as temporary shelter, food, clothing, and bed linens.
“While tornadoes, floods and hurricanes tend to dominate the headlines, people often underestimate the frequency and devastation caused by home fires, and that’s where the Red Cross comes in,” said Matt Bertram, CEO of the American Red Cross Ohio Buckeye Region. 'Our work doesn’t end after the smoke clears. Every day local volunteers are helping people to recover and get better prepared.”
Curbing Deaths and Injuries from Home Fires
Because of the high number of home fires in this country, the Red Cross launched a campaign this year to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. The organization is asking every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.
Since the campaign launched in October, the Red Cross—in partnership with fire departments and community groups nationwide—has already reached more than 29,000 people by installing 17,000 smoke alarms. These efforts have already saved five lives nationwide. In our area, we’ve reached more than 1800 people by installing smoke alarms. On Saturday, January 17th, beginning at 8:45 a.m., Red Cross volunteers will partner with the Columbus Division of Fire to install another 200 smoke alarms in the Hilltop area.
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.
Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. But most Americans (62 percent) mistakenly believe they have at least five minutes to escape. Nearly one in five (18 percent) believe they have ten minutes or more.
When asked about their confidence levels in actually escaping a burning home, roughly four in 10 of those polled (42 percent) believed they could get out in two minutes.
Our work is made possible by the generosity of the American public. You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables us to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.
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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.