American Red Cross
Northern California Coastal Region
1663 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Media Contact: Cari Dighton
In the Bay Area, Red Cross volunteers helped 2,058 individuals and families after home fires in 2020
SAN FRANCISCO — As people turn their clocks forward for daylight saving time this Sunday, the American Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region encourages everyone to also test their smoke alarms.
In 2020, local Red Cross volunteers helped 2,058 individuals and families with urgent needs like emergency lodging, financial assistance and recovery planning, following 1,044 homes fires in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Marin, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, San Benito, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties.
“Home fires remain the nation’s most frequent disaster during COVID-19,” said John Ruiz, Regional Disaster Officer for the American Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region. “This weekend, after turning your clocks an hour forward, take a moment to test your smoke alarms to help protect your family against home fires.”
HOW TO ‘TURN AND TEST’ Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Below are steps to take when testing your alarms:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.
- Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years old or older. That’s because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time. Check the date of your smoke alarms and follow the instructions.
- Practice your two-minute escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late. Include at least two ways to get out of every room and 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 can meet.
Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. Local Red Cross volunteers are also meeting virtually with families to review fire safety steps for their household. To make an appointment for your family, visit tinyurl.com/VirtualSoundtheAlarm.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVES LIVES Most of us don’t realize we have just two minutes to escape a home fire. That’s why the Red Cross is preparing families to act quickly through our Home Fire Campaign. Since launching in 2014, the national campaign has helped save at least 836 lives, and has reached more than 2.3 million people nationwide. Visit redcross.org/HomeFires to learn more about this work.
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.