Working Smoke Alarms Cut the Risk of Dying in a Home Fire
Washington, D.C., November 2, 2018 — Daylight saving time ends this Sunday, and the American Red Cross urges everyone to test their smoke alarms when turning back their clocks.
As the fall season ushers in cold weather, it also increases the risk of deadly home fires. That’s because heating equipment is the second most common cause of fatalities from home fires—which, on average, take seven lives every day in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. But working smoke alarms can double a person’s odds of survival.
“We want everyone to stay safe during the fall and winter seasons,” said Harvey Johnson, senior vice president of Disaster Cycle Services for the American Red Cross. “Now is the time to ‘turn and test’ to protect yourself and your loved ones.” Learn more in this video.
Through the Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross works year-round with community partners to install free smoke alarms and help residents create home fire escape plans in high-risk neighborhoods across the country. Information and safety resources are available at redcross.org/homefires.
This weekend, the Red Cross asks everyone to take these simple steps:
- Check smoke alarm batteries. When turning the clocks back, take a few minutes to replace the smoke alarm batteries if needed and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working. It’s also a great time to check carbon monoxide detectors.
- Install smoke alarms. If you don’t have working smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check local building codes for additional requirements.
- Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the household knows two ways to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVES LIVES
As part of the national Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross works with community partners to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires, which take more lives each year than all other natural disasters combined in the U.S. Since the campaign began in October 2014, it has reached more than 1.6 million people and is credited with saving at least 472 lives nationwide by:
- Installing more than 1.4 million free smoke alarms
- Replacing more than 68,000 smoke alarm batteries
- Helping families make more than 521,000 home fire escape plans
- Reaching more than 1.2 million children through youth preparedness programs
People can visit redcross.org to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved ones from fires, or contact their local Red Cross to find out about smoke alarm installation events in their community.
Every eight minutes, someone affected by disaster is helped by donations to the Red Cross. People can help by volunteering their time or making a donation today to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.