PHILADELPHIA, October 23, 2014, – The American Red Cross has announced a new campaign across the country to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years. In the Philadelphia region, the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania has been a long time partner with the Philadelphia Fire Department in working to curb fire injuries and deaths. This national Red Cross initiative only strengthens that partnership.
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.
The Red Cross also is asking every household in America to take the two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.
On Friday October 24 at 2:00 p.m., the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) will partner with the Philadelphia Fire Department, Engine 55, Ladder 22 to kick off the Home Fire Safety Campaign in Philadelphia. Members of the Philadelphia Fire Department will install smoke alarms provided by the American Red Cross in homes that need them. Red Cross volunteers will hand out fire safety materials to help teach residents about what they can do now to be prepared should a fire break out in their home. The kick-off event will take place in the neighborhood of the 3800 Block of North Delhi & North 10th Streets in Philadelphia. Just this week, 16 people lost their home to fire just blocks away from this location in the 3800 block of North Park Ave.
Simple Steps to Save Lives
Even as the Red Cross and other groups install smoke alarms in some neighborhoods, they are calling on 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 someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, 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 where someone lives.
- If someone does have 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’s the household’s escape time?
New Poll Shows Many People Have False Sense of Security about Fire Safety
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.
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 the Philadelphia region, the Red Cross responded to 834 disaster last year, most of which were home fires.
The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross July 17-20, 2014 using ORC International’s Online CARAVAN omnibus survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,130 American adults, including 311 parents of children aged 3-17. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the US adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education. The margin of error for the total sample of 1,130 adults is +/- 2.92 percent. The margin of error for the sample of 311 parents is +/- 5.56 percent.
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