Greenwich, Conn., As Fire Safety Month came to a close, the American Red Cross Metro NY North Chapter teamed up with the Greenwich Fire Department to highlight a free smoke alarm program. The event also emphasized the importance of fire safety at a time when the Red Cross begins to see a higher instance of home fires.
Nationally, the Red Cross responds to 27% more home fires in November-March than in warmer months.
“Every day, people’s lives are devastated by home fires — a threat that’s increasing as winter approaches,” said Stephanie Dunn Ashley, CEO, American Red Cross Metro NY North Chapter. “Help keep your family safe now by testing your smoke alarms and practicing your two-minute fire escape drill.”
“The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms. In addition to "turn and test" (change batteries when you turn the clocks back), "check the date" (replace smoke alarms every 10 years) and make sure you "hear the beep before you sleep," said Lauren Rabin, Selectman of Greenwich. “Stay safe and thanks for everyone involved in putting this event together.
“Working smoke alarms save lives and reduce fire damage. Thank you to the American Red Cross and the Greenwich Fire Department for sounding the alarm about the importance of effective smoke alarms in every home. Installing smoke alarms in homes and implementing fire safety programs townwide make our community safer,” said Richard Blumenthal, United States Senator from Connecticut.
“Thank you to the American Red Cross, Greenwich Fire, Police and GEMS for your valuable work to make our community safer from home fires. I found the live in-person training sessions to be both helpful and informative, and I am greatly appreciative of Greenwich’s public safety partners for making smoke detection readiness and home fire prevention a priority,” said Kimberly Fiorello, Connecticut State Representative.
“Smoke Alarms are effective safety measures and save lives. I am thankful to our Red Cross partners for raising the awareness and helping our community with installing and testing smoke alarms,” Harry Arora, Connecticut State Representative.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY Test your smoke alarms and practice your two-minute home fire escape drill — the amount of time that experts say you may have to get out before it’s too late. Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like and talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information.
- Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and 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 likely need to be replaced because components such batteries can become less reliable. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.
- Include at least two ways to exit every room in your home in your escape plan.
- 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.
- Tailor your escape plan to everyone’s needs in your household. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, install strobe light and bed-shaker alarms to help alert you to a fire. When practicing your plan, include any devices or people that can help you to get out safely.
RED CROSS HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN If you need a smoke alarms or are physically unable to install one, the Red Cross can help. Since October 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign has been educating families about fire safety, helping them create escape plans and installing free devices. Locally in Greenwich, Conn., Westchester County and Rockland County Red Cross volunteers and partners have installed more than 6,700 smoke alarms and helped make nearly 2,800 households safer. To learn more about the campaign and how to receive a free smoke alarm and have it installed, visit www.soundthealarm.org/MNYN or call 845-673-1198.
RESPONDING TO HOME FIRES Every day across greater NY, the American Red Cross responds to 5 to 25 disasters, providing emergency lodging, food, water, blankets, financial assistance, emotional support, health assistance and more. The Red Cross relies on volunteers to carry out this work and the organization needs more New Yorkers to support this important work. Visit www.redcross.org/volunteertoday to learn more.