This spring, the American Red Cross helped educate more than 73,000 people on how to protect themselves against home fires — which continue to be the nation’s most frequent disaster during COVID-19.
As part of the national Sound the Alarm effort in more than 50 high-risk communities, Red Cross volunteers and community partners shared home fire safety information with families and helped them create home fire escape plans. Local partner fire departments also installed free smoke alarms in homes where it was safe to do so.
This national Sound the Alarm effort is part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, which has helped save more than 850 lives and serve 2.4 million people across the country since launching in October 2014. Learn more in this video.
‘I FEEL MORE PROTECTED’ Rita Thompson is one of the thousands of people who learned how to stay safe from home fires. Outside her home, she spoke with Red Cross volunteers about her plan to escape while using her cane. Volunteers also answered her questions about avoiding cooking fires — the top of cause of home fires in the U.S. — and how to properly use a space heater, another common cause of fires. Meanwhile, local firefighters installed free smoke alarms to replace outdated ones in her home.
“I just thought it was important to protect my property and I wasn’t really sure if my smoke alarms were up-to-date,” said Thompson, who lives with two cats. “I feel more protected.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO Most of us don’t realize we have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late, according to a 2020 Red Cross survey. Follow these steps to help protect your family:
- Create an escape plan with at least two ways to exit every room in your home.
- Practice your plan until everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes.
- Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Change the batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.
- Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they likely need to be replaced. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.
For more home fire safety tips and resources, visit redcross.org/fire.
This work is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from national partners, including Delta Air Lines.