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Home Fires are Top Threat in Los Angeles Region

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Los Angeles, January 21, 2105:  Seven times per day, someone in this country dies in a home fire. Data shows that the 4% of homes without smoke alarms represent nearly 40% of the home fires, and that working smoke alarms can double someone’s chance of surviving a fire.

This year, the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region helped more people affected by home fires than all other disasters combined. Local volunteers helped more than 1,727 victims of home fires at all hours of the day and night with food, blankets and comfort when they had nowhere else to turn.

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 1, 2014, the Red Cross also provided financial support to 472 local households after home fires to help replace lost belongings and begin the long road to recovery. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to a disaster in the community every 8 minutes and the vast majority of these are home fires.

“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 Jarrett Barrios, CEO, American Red Cross Los Angeles 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 nationwide Home Fire Preparedness Campaign this year to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. By working with local fire departments and engaging our network of volunteers, we aim to help save lives and prevent injuries.

The organization is asking every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.  More important safety tips can be found at www.preparesocal.org.

Since the campaign launched in October, the Red Cross Los Angeles Region — in partnership with fire departments and community groups — reached 336 people by installing 177 free smoke alarms in high-risk neighborhoods in South L.A. and Long Beach.  The campaign continues on January 31, when installations will occur in two Pasadena neighborhoods.

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 redcrossla.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA or @CruzRojaLA.