The American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign with support from thousands of community partners has achieved its goal of installing 2.5 million free smoke alarms and making 1 million households safer across the country.
Since launching in October 2014, the campaign has saved at least 1,583 lives from the threat of home fires, which claim seven lives every day in the U.S. Most often, these tragedies occur in homes without working smoke alarms.
“Smoke alarms truly save lives, and we are thrilled to have installed 2.5 million free smoke alarms with our amazing partners,” said American Red Cross President and CEO Gail J. McGovern. “We are profoundly grateful for all the dedicated volunteers, donors and other supporters who have made the Home Fire Campaign a success by providing free, lifesaving services to vulnerable communities. Together, we have made meaningful strides in combating the nation’s most frequent disaster.”
FREE HOME FIRE SERVICES TO CONTINUE Because home fires remain a daily threat and the campaign has made a lifesaving difference, the Red Cross will be continuing the program with community partners as part of its standard services across the country.
This includes conducting Sound the Alarm events to install free smoke alarms and share home fire safety information with residents, as well as teaching children about the threat of home fires and what to do through youth preparedness programs. The campaign has also been expanded to include installing accessible fire safety equipment like bedshaker alarms and strobe light smoke alarms for residents who are deaf or hard of hearing, along with providing home fire safety resources in American Sign Language.
Home fires account for most of the more than 60,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to annually across the country. So far in 2023, Red Cross volunteers have helped more than 33,000 people affected by more than 8,600 home fires in the U.S. by providing emergency lodging, financial assistance for urgent needs like food and clothing, and one-on-one recovery support for navigating next steps and connecting with community resources.
ONE HOME FIRE SURVIVOR’S STORY Cherise Coleman and her family escaped a fire unharmed last fall at their Nevada home, thanks to free smoke alarms installed a few years earlier through the Home Fire Campaign.
The fire started in the garage late at night, setting off a smoke alarm that alerted Cherise and her family to get out. As they watched firefighters put out the blaze, Red Cross volunteers arrived to help, giving her daughters teddy bears for comfort, helping the family secure a hotel stay and talking with Cherise about her next steps.
“I appreciate them,” Cherise said. “They put smiles on my kids’ face. They made me feel comfort in the time of need and adversity, and they were understanding.”
Cherise credits the smoke alarms with saving her and her family’s lives — and encourages others to request a home fire safety visit through the campaign.
“You must be proactive not reactive,” she added. “Having the Red Cross come over and install smoke alarms is proactive. If you are just reactive, you can lose your life. You have got to make time for the Red Cross. They can save your life.”
Read more stories and see the campaign’s national impact at redcross.org/HomeFireStories.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED Help save lives through the campaign 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.
You can also help your family by testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your two-minute home fire escape plan. Additional safety tips are available at redcross.org/HomeFires and on the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in mobile app stores).