Media Contact: Sherry Nicholson
ATLANTA, GA, OCTOBER 7, 2020 — National Fire Prevention Week is well underway (October 4-10), and Georgia’s Red Cross urges residents to test their smoke alarms and practice their escape plans as home fires continue during COVID-19.
In the past three months alone (July-September), Georgia’s Red Cross has responded to 533 home and apartment fires statewide and helped 1015 families with urgent needs like emergency lodging, financial assistance, and recovery planning. The nation’s most frequent disaster, home fires are most often caused by cooking, according to the National Fire Protection Association, which is sponsoring Fire Prevention Week with the theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!”
“Unfortunately, home fires haven’t stopped during COVID-19, and neither has the need to prevent fire tragedies,” said Danella Hughes, Red Cross Disaster Officer for Georgia. “During Fire Prevention Week, we recommend testing your smoke alarms and practicing your escape plan. These simple steps can help protect you and your loved ones in the event of a fire.”
RED CROSS SURVEY: MOST OF US ARE UNDERPREPARED
Home fires claim seven lives a day in the U.S., but a new 2020 national Red Cross survey shows most of us aren’t taking the steps to protect ourselves.
- Testing your smoke alarms each month helps ensure that they’re working — which can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Still, 65% of us don’t.
- Practicing your escape plan twice a year also increases the odds of survival. But 70% of us don’t.
- Escaping in less than two minutes can be the difference between survival and tragedy, according to fire experts. Yet more than half of us think we have more time.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
Nearly all of us have engaged in ordinary activities that can cause home fires — from walking out of the kitchen while cooking to leaving burning candles unattended. Because these behaviors are so common, National Fire Prevention Week is a good reminder to test your smoke alarms and practice your escape plan until everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes.
Test your smoke alarms monthly.
- Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
- Change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.
- Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they need to be replaced because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes.
- Include at least two ways to exit every room in your home.
- 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 knows to meet.
- Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like. Talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency.
GET HELP, SAFETY TIPS
Visit redcross.org/fire for free resources, including a home fire escape plan to create and practice with your household. You can also download our free Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).
About the American Red Cross Home Fire Safety Survey:
These findings are from a CARAVAN® Survey conducted by ENGINE INSIGHTS on January 10-12, 2020 on behalf of the American Red Cross. For the survey, a demographically representative sample of 1,004 adults ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The precision of a CARAVAN survey can be measured using a margin of error calculation. In this case, the poll has a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points for all respondents surveyed.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% 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.