A fire can destroy a home in as little as two minutes — but working smoke alarms can help prevent it from taking your life.
That’s why the American Red Cross is working with community partners to install free smoke alarms and share fire safety information with families through our Home Fire Campaign — which has now helped to save more than 1,700 lives since launching in 2014.
Bettye Brewer is among those who survived a home fire, thanks to campaign. Just two months after Red Cross volunteers installed free smoke alarms in her Alabama home, those same alarms alerted her and her family to safely escape a fire in December 2022.
“Those smoke alarms really helped me,” Bettye said. “It saved my family. It saved our lives.” Watch her story in the video featured above.
HOW TO STAY SAFE Help protect you and your family by testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your two-minute home fire escape drill. Follow these safety tips, which can also be downloaded on the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in mobile app stores):
- 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 to see if they’re 10 years old or older. If so, they likely need to be replaced. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.
- In your escape plan, include at least two ways to exit every room in your home. Select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone knows to meet.
- Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like while practicing your escape plan. Talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency.
Resources are also available in American Sign Language.
GET INVOLVED WITH THE CAMPAIGN Help save lives by becoming a volunteer or making a financial donation to prepare, respond and help families recover from home fires. Learn more at redcross.org/homefires.