Almost five years ago, the American Red Cross launched something called the Home Fire Campaign to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries in this country. The effort, which began in October of 2014, is presently credited with saving 627 lives (as of July 31, 2019).
WHAT IS THE RED CROSS HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN?
Home fires are the most frequent and deadliest disaster in the United States. Every 24 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation, according to the National Fire Protection Association. On average, seven people die every day from these fires and 36 people are injured. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
Home Fire Campaign volunteers and community partners go door-to-door throughout the year in high-risk neighborhoods to install free smoke alarms and help households create home fire escape plans. In addition to saving 627 lives, the campaign has:
- Installed over 1.89 million free smoke alarms in more than 783,400 homes across the entire country.
- Served more than 2 million people through home visits.
- Helped more than 672,800 households prepare their fire escape plan.
PROGRAMS FOR YOUTH More than 1.46 million children have learned about emergency preparedness since the campaign began. Through The Pillowcase Project, schoolchildren learn how to create escape plans and emergency preparedness kits with something as simple as a pillowcase.
- Students receive a pillowcase to decorate and use as a personal emergency supplies kit. They are encouraged to work with the adults at home to create a household emergency plan and supplies kit. Trained Red Cross staff and volunteers present the program in communities nationwide. People interested in requesting a presentation or helping deliver the program should contact their local Red Cross chapter
- In addition, kids can also learn about real life emergencies with the Red Cross’ free mobile game, Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies.
WHAT YOU CAN DO A home fire can happen fast, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape. Early warning from working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that everyone has practiced can save lives. Take these two simple steps to be prepared for a home fire:
- Practice a home fire drill with members of your household to make sure everyone can get out in two minutes.
- Test your smoke alarms every month to make sure they are working.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Join the Red Cross effort to save lives, reduce injuries and cut down on needless losses from home fires by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800 RED CROSS or texting FIRE to 90999 and making a financial donation. A gift to Home Fires enables the Red Cross to provide critical services to people impacted by home fires along with the lifesaving tools and information to support home fire prevention efforts.