FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Media Contact: Cynthia Shaw
408-666-6857 | Cynthia.Shaw@redcross.org
24-hour Toll-Free Media Hotline:
855-559-0333 | NCCRpublicaffairs@redcross.org
Local Red Cross Responded to 838 Home Fires Last Year, Seeks Volunteers to Install 1,500 Free Smoke Alarms for Local Families
SAN FRANCISCO (April 11, 2019) — A new national 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 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).
In the Northern California Coastal Region, Red Cross volunteers responded to 838 home fires in 2018, helping 1,828 families recover from these emergencies—which are the nation’s most frequent disaster and kill an average of seven people each day.
“Home fires can happen to anyone, and sadly, these crises can be caused by everyday activities like cooking a meal at home,” said Jonathan Velline, Board of Directors Chair, American Red Cross of the Bay Area. “To protect your family, please check 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 stay safe, the Red Cross urges everyone to always supervise cooking equipment and candles, and follow additional safety tips at redcross.org/homefires. For more information about the national survey, see this video and infographic.
JOIN US TO #ENDHOMEFIRES Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half, yet one in 10 adults reported not purchasing an alarm because of the expense. In addition, nearly half of those surveyed said they’ve disconnected an alarm or taken the batteries out when it went off.
That’s why the Northern California Region is seeking volunteers for the upcoming Sound the Alarm home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events below. People can register now at SoundTheAlarm.org/NorCalCoastal to help install free smoke alarms and raise funds for lifesaving services.
- April 27, 2019, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Pacheco
- May 1, 2019, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Antioch
- May 4, 2019, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Richmond
- May 4, 2019, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: San Jose
Sound the Alarm events are part of the Home Fire Campaign, which the Red Cross launched in 2014 to reduce fire deaths and injuries. So far, nationwide, it has reached more than 1.7 million people and saved more than 500 lives, including Yury Ostroumov. In 2016, Red Cross volunteers installed smoke alarms throughout Journey’s End, a mobile home community in Santa Rosa, where Yury Ostroumov lived for 16 years. Then, October 9, 2017, at 3 a.m. Yury was awoken by a beep – a beep from a smoke alarm installed by Red Cross Volunteers. The beeping alerting him to the fast-moving and historic Tubbs wildfires that was racing through his mobile home park and enabled him to evacuate his home safely. Once he escaped the raging fire, he received assistance from Red Cross that helped him on his road to recovery. Yury said, “Without the alarm, I would not be speaking here today, it saved my life.” Watch his testimonial video.
In the Northern California Coastal Region, Red Cross volunteers and local partners have:
- Installed more than 9,100 free smoke alarms
- Created more than 3,100 evacuation plans
- Made more than 3,500 households safer
- Served more than 10,400 residents
- Reached more than 16,200 children through youth preparedness programs
This work is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from our national partners: AirBnB, Delta, and Nissan and our regional partners: Pacific Gas and Electric Company, CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer, Dignity Health, Linden Root Dickinson, Camille McCormack, State Farm, John and Marcia Goldman Foundation, Karen Turner Sanford, and Veritas.
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.
About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.