HOUSTON, TEXAS, November 2, 2018 — Daylight saving time ends this Sunday, and the American Red Cross urges everyone to test their smoke alarms when turning back their clocks.
As the fall season ushers in cold weather, it also increases the risk of deadly home fires. That’s because heating equipment is the second most common cause of fatalities from home fires—which, on average, take seven lives every day in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. But working smoke alarms can double a person’s odds of survival.
“The Red Cross wants everyone to stay safe this winter,” said Henry Van de Putte, CEO American Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast. “This weekend, please take time to ‘turn and test’ to protect you and your family against the season’s life-threatening risk of home fires.” Learn more in this video.
Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster—most often, home fires. As of September, the Greater Houston Chapter has responded to 602 home fires this year.
This weekend, the Red Cross asks everyone to take these simple steps:
- Check smoke alarm batteries. When turning the clocks back, take a few minutes to replace the smoke alarm batteries if needed and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working. It’s also a great time to check carbon monoxide detectors.
- Install smoke alarms. If you don’t have working smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check local building codes for additional requirements.
- Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the household knows two ways to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVES LIVES
Through the national Home Fire Campaign, the American Red Cross works with community partners to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires, which take more lives each year than all other natural disasters combined in the U.S. In high-risk neighborhoods here in the Texas Gulf Coast and across the country, Red Cross volunteers and partners go door-to-door year-round to install free smoke alarms and help residents create home fire escape plans.
Since the campaign began in 2014, the Texas Gulf Coast has reached more than 28,000 people by:
- Installing more than 18,000 free smoke alarms
- Replacing nearly 800 smoke alarm batteries
- Helping families make more than 7,800 home fire escape plans
- Reaching more than 7,600 children through youth preparedness programs
People can visit redcross.org/homefires to learn more about how to protect themselves and their loved ones, or contact the Coastal Bend South Texas Greater Houston Southeast Deep East Chapter to find out about smoke alarm installation events in their community.
People can also help families in need by volunteering their time or making a donation today to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross is a United Way agency that 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.