New Public Opinion Poll Shows Need for Smoke Alarms; Red Cross Ramps Up Effort to Install 100,000 Free Alarms in Two Weeks
WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 11, 2019—A new American Red Cross survey shows that roughly two in five people think it’s more likely that they’ll win the lottery than lose their home in a fire. But the real odds are the opposite: the chance is greater of dying from exposure to fire or smoke (nearly one in 1,500), compared to winning the lottery (typically one in millions).
“Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster, tragically taking seven lives each day and injuring many more,” said American Red Cross President & CEO Gail McGovern. “Sadly, home fires can happen anywhere, and to any family, and can be caused by everyday activities like making a home-cooked meal. We are encouraging everyone to please test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan together.”
96 PERCENT ENGAGED IN FIRE-RISK ACTIVITIES Almost all people surveyed said they’ve engaged in ordinary activities that are among the leading causes of home fires. For example:
- More than 70 percent of people said they’ve left the kitchen while cooking on the stove.
- Nearly three in five adults have walked away from their grill while cooking.
- Nearly one-third of people left the room or fell asleep while burning candles.
To help prevent home fires, the Red Cross urges everyone to always supervise cooking equipment and candles, and follow additional safety tips at redcross.org/homefires.
1 IN 10 DIDN’T BUY SMOKE ALARMS DUE TO COST Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. But one in 10 adults reported not purchasing an alarm because of the expense. This represents nearly 33 million Americans—which is greater than the population of Texas.
What’s more, while most people surveyed (98 percent) said they believe smoke alarms can save lives, nearly half said they’ve disconnected an alarm or taken the batteries out when it went off.
“We want everyone to stay safe from home fires, and these survey results illustrate the critical importance of our Home Fire Campaign to install free smoke alarms and educate families,” McGovern said. “Already, the campaign has reached more than 1.7 million people and saved more than 550 lives. But our work is far from over, and we need your support to reach more families in need.”
For more information about the survey, see this video and infographic.
HOW YOU CAN HELP #ENDHOMEFIRES From April 27 to May 12, the Red Cross is calling for volunteers to help install 100,000 free smoke alarms during a two-week push of the campaign’s Sound the Alarm home fire safety events taking place in 100 at-risk communities nationwide. People can register now at SoundTheAlarm.org to volunteer and raise donations to support lifesaving services, which are free for families in need.
This work is made possible thanks to generous support from national partners: Airbnb, Delta Air Lines and Nissan North America.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN RED CROSS HOME FIRE SAFETY SURVEY The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross from January 31 to February 3, 2019 using Engine’s Online CARAVAN Omnibus Survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,003 adults, ages 18 or older living in U.S. states. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the U.S. adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education. The margin of error for the total sample of 1,003 adults is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.