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Red Cross Installs Smoke Alarms in Oklahoma City

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Smoke alarms can help reduce the risk of death by half

Home fires are the most common disaster American Red Cross volunteers respond to on a daily basis. Many of these fires can be preventable. That's why then Red Cross launched a five year campaign to reduce home fires as well as injuries and deaths. To do this, the Red Cross is going door-to-door to speak with high-risk fire areas. Volunteers will provide fire safety information as well as install smoke alarms if needed.

On Saturday, October 25, 2014, volunteers from Oklahoma City and community partners including the Oklahoma City Fire Department, Variety Care, Project Shine and ASTEC Charter School canvassed a neighborhood in south Oklahoma City. More than 40 of those volunteers were registered Red Cross volunteers as well as 24 youth volunteers. Volunteer visited nearly 360 homes in a predominantly Spanish-speaking area identified as having a high-risk and high-rate of fire responses by the Red Cross.

Volunteers went over step-by-step instructions on creating an escape route, identifying exits and looking for at least two ways to get out of a room. To help, each family was given a dry erase board with instructions and a pen to help diagram their plans. All information was presented in English or Spanish.

While many of these homes had working smoke alarms, there were many that didn't even have one. Volunteers helped install 92 alarms to help protect families in the event of a fire.  Smoke alarms can help reduce the risk of death by half.

The Red Cross fire preparedness campaign comes at a time when a new national survey shows many Americans have a false sense of security about surviving a fire. The survey, conducted for the Red Cross, 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 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.

While 69 percent of parents believe their children would know what to do or how to escape with little help, the survey found that many families had not taken necessary steps to support that level of confidence.
•    Less than one in five of families with children age 3-17 (18 percent) report that they’ve 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.

For more fire safety tips visit www.redcross.org/homefires.