U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (October 5, 2018) — Fire Prevention Week begins October 7 and the American Red Cross reminds everyone to take two simple steps – practice fire drills at home and test smoke alarms monthly – to stay safe from the nation’s most frequent and deadliest disaster.
“Several times a week our Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteers are responding to a home fire,” said John Duck, Executive Director of the U.S. Virgin Islands. “It is important that our community understands that a fire can start and spread quickly and they should take steps now to stay safe.”
On average, seven people die every day from home fires, which take more lives each year than all other natural disasters combined in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. But working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
That’s why the Red Cross is working with community partners to install free smoke alarms, help families create home fire escape plans, and provide public fire prevention and safety resources through its Home Fire Campaign, a nationwide effort to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries. Since the campaign began in October 2014, it’s reached more than 1.6 million people and is credited with saving 472 lives nationwide.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
Experts say that today’s home fires burn faster than ever, leaving people with only as little as two minutes to escape a burning residence. But many mistakenly believe they have more time, according to a Red Cross survey last year. During Fire Prevention Week, the Red Cross urges everyone to take these lifesaving steps:
- Develop a fire escape plan with everyone in your household and practice it at least twice a year. Need help with your plan? Use these free Home Fire Campaign resources.
- Install smoke alarms in your home, on every level and outside each sleeping area. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year if required.
- Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what they should do if they hear one.
- Make sure all household members know two ways to escape from every room.
- Establish a family meeting spot outside.
1.6 MILLION PEOPLE SERVED—AND GROWING
Through the Home Fire Campaign, Red Cross volunteers and community partners continue to mount a nationwide effort across the country to save lives and curb fire-related injuries. Over the past four years, Red Cross volunteers and more than 4,500 partners have gone door-to-door in high-risk neighborhoods to deliver free preparedness resources through the campaign’s Sound the Alarm canvassing events. So far, we have:
- Reached more than 1.6 million people through home visits in nearly 14,000 cities and towns
- Installed 1.4 million free smoke alarms
- Replaced more than 67,550 smoke alarm batteries
- Helped families make more than 514,200 fire escape plans
- Reached almost 1.2 million children through youth preparedness programs
The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. If someone would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.