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Across U.S., Red Cross Responds to Nearly 60% More Home Fires in First Days of 2018 Than in 2017

Fire Safety

[FAIRFAX, VA.] Thursday, January 11, 2018 — Red Cross volunteers across the country have already responded to 3,150 home fires in the first nine days of 2018, compared to 2,003 fires in 2017. Some of this may be attributed to the recent string of dangerously cold days, as colder temperatures are often linked to a rise in home fires. Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months, according to the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration.

After a home fire, a Red Cross volunteer is often among the first on the scene – offering emotional support, helping those affected to find a place to stay and assisting with recovery. As of January 9, the Red Cross has already opened 4,400 cases to help a total of 12,500 people get back on their feet after home fires in 2018.

“The Red Cross responds to almost 64,000 disasters across the United States every year and most of these are home fires,” said Linda Mathes, CEO, National Capital Region. “Here in National Capital Region, we responded to about 500 home fires in 2017. These home fires are devastating for the people involved and also responsible for a number of deaths and injuries. That is why our Home Fire Campaign is so important. We want to help save lives by installing smoke alarms in homes that don’t have them and educating people about home fire safety.”

As part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, the National Capital Region will install free smoke alarms on the upcoming Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Here in the National Capital Region the Red Cross will join partners in Prince George's, MD to install smoke alarms in homes in Mount Rainier. 

·       Prince George's, MD (01/15/2018) - Mount Rainier

WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO? The Red Cross is asking every household in America to take steps that can help save lives. Find out more here. In addition to preparing your home and family, volunteers are needed in many areas to help install smoke alarms in at-risk communities. People can find the event signup links here.

Everyone can also follow these tips to help prevent a fire in their home:

  • Keep all potential sources of fuel - paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs - at least three feet away from sources of heat.
  • Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended.
  • Place space heaters on a level, hard and nonflammable surface. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen.


HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVES 332 LIVES The Red Cross responds to as many as 64,000 disasters every year and most of these are home fires. Sadly, seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire.

To combat these statistics, the Red Cross launched its Home Fire Campaign in 2014, focusing on installing free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching people about fire safety. Since the start of the campaign, the Red Cross and partners have installed more than 1 million smoke alarms and helped to save 332 lives.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. If someone would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.

.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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.