Local Officials and Fire Chiefs Call for Fire Prevention Awareness in the St. Louis Area

Local Officials & Fire Chiefs
The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones is to install a smoke alarm and develop and practice a fire escape plan.

This October 7-13, the American Red Cross is helping families and businesses learn how to protect themselves and others from fires in observance of National Fire Prevention Week. Last year, the Red Cross responded to about 63,000 home fires across the country by providing comfort and basic necessities to more than 82,000 families. That’s about one fire every nine minutes.

Today, Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson visited local Red Cross headquarters. They outlined fire prevention and preparedness efforts, and discussed how important those efforts are in building resilient communities. The Red Cross also outlined fire response efforts in the Congressman’s district. Last fiscal year, the Red Cross responded to nearly 500 fires in that area. Clay, Jenkerson and Dooley each thanked the Red Cross team for their efforts. Red Cross disaster action team volunteers provide emergency assistance for food, clothing and shelter, as well as emotional support at the scene of local fires.

“Here in the St. Louis area, we respond to an average of three house fires a day,” said Cindy Erickson, Regional CEO of the Red Cross. “The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones is to install a smoke alarm and develop and practice a fire escape plan.”

Additional recommendations include:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year.
  • Follow your escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • Download the FREE American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.
  • Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for additional fire safety tips.

    Businesses, too, should be prepared. Fire is the most common of all business disasters. According to the United State Fire Association, non-residential building fires resulted in $2.4 billion in losses in 2010. Companies, schools and other organizations can learn how to prepare for fires and other emergencies by becoming a member of the Red Cross Ready Rating™ Program at www.readyrating.org. Ready Rating™, now a national Red Cross program, was created by the St. Louis Area Chapter in 2008. Complete a FREE, online assessment of your current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.

    The Red Cross is part of the “All Ready” campaign, a unified effort among emergency preparedness experts in the bi-state region that focuses on the importance of individual preparedness. The campaign encourages the three critical steps of preparedness: Make a plan, Get a kit, Be informed.

    The American Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region is a proud member agency of the United Way, which makes significant investments every year in Red Cross services.