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Red Cross, Town of Southbury Install 145 Free Smoke Alarms

SOUTHBURY, CONN., May 21, 2015 – The American Red Cross Connecticut Chapter and members of the Town of Southbury Fire Marshal’s office and Fire Department installed 145 smoke alarms free of charge on Saturday, May 16. Teams moved through Heritage Village, visiting residents who had prescheduled installation times. While they were there, the teams also left fire safety information at the homes of other residents in the community. “We want to make sure everyone has the information and tools they need to be safe in a home fire situation,” said Kristen Binau, Senior Director of Emergency Services with the Connecticut Chapter.

Binau said residents who were not available during the recent canvass but who would like to have free smoke alarms installed by the Red Cross may schedule a visit at www.redcross.org/ct/schedule-a-visit or by calling 877-287-3327 and choosing option 1 on the menu to request a smoke alarm installation. “The offer is available for Heritage Village residents and all Southbury residents,” Binau added.

The visits are part of a Red Cross campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to fire. “The presence of working smoke alarms in a home can cut in half the risk of dying by home fire,” Binau said.

“We are excited to be offering these visits,” said Kristen Binau,. “They are simple to schedule, take only about 20 minutes and could possibly prevent a tragedy.”

The American Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign brings Red Cross workers together with local fire departments and community partners to share fire safety tools and tips in home visits with residents. Those visits include educating people about fire safety through one-on-one conversations and free installation of smoke alarms in homes where no working smoke alarms are present.

Binau said early detection of fire and an escape plan are vital to safely surviving a home fire. “Fire experts agree that you could have as little as two minutes to escape a home in the event of a fire. Smoke alarms can notify you of fire and an escape plan can reduce panic and time spent getting out of your home.” Binau added that canvassers will share information and tools to help families develop a personalized escape plan.

Simple Steps to Save Lives

The Red Cross is asking everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.

There are several things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire:

  • If you do not have smoke alarms in your home, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements in your community.
  • If you do have smoke alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.
  • Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
  • Practice that plan. What is the household’s escape time?
  • The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States and the vast majority of those are home fires. In Connecticut, the Red Cross responded to 797 disasters last year. Nearly all of those responses were residential fires. You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

    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/ct or visit us on Twitter at @CTRedCross.