The American Red Cross has responded to 35 large home and multi-unit home fires so far this year, compared to just 11 during the same period in 2016.
“The start of 2017 has tragically been marked by an unusually high number of large home fires, and the Red Cross has been there to help these families,” said Gail McGovern, Red Cross President and CEO. “Home fires cause needless death, injuries and terrible heartbreak. But there is something we can do. With our amazing partners, we’ve rallied thousands of volunteers across the country in high-risk neighborhoods to install free smoke alarms, replace batteries, teach kids about fire safety, and help families create escape plans. Behind all of these efforts is the possibility to save another life.”
Every day, home fires kill more people than natural disasters, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. The Red Cross wants to improve the odds of survival, and that’s why the Home Fire Campaign was launched in 2014.
A critical part of the campaign is a series of installation and fire safety events across the country. Red Cross volunteers, along with fire departments and other partners, canvass high-risk neighborhoods, installing free smoke alarms, replacing batteries in existing alarms and helping families create escape plans. Working smoke alarms in a home cut the risk of death by half, and having an escape plan further improves the odds of survival. Since 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign has saved at least 215 lives and installed more than more than 744,000 smoke alarms in more than 9,400 cities and towns across the United States.
“The fact that the Home Fire Campaign has now helped save more than 200 lives is so inspiring. I like to think about what sorts of things these people will accomplish in the future and what their children and grandchildren will do too,” said McGovern. “Our work to help people impacted by home fires across the country is just beginning, and we still have much to do with the help of our dedicated volunteers.”
The Red Cross is also asking that every household in America take two simple steps that can help to save lives from home fires: practice fire drills at home and check smoke alarms monthly. Every household should create a fire escape plan and practice it until everyone can escape in less than two minutes. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms.
The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from corporate partners and the hundreds of local partner organizations and volunteers nationwide. Our corporate partners include: Almost Family, Energy Transfer Partners, Nationwide and UGI.
If you need smoke alarms, go to getasmokealarm.org to request a free installation. For more information, contact your local Red Cross Chapter.