Open Letter from Judge Renée Cardwell Hughes (Ret.), Chief Executive Officer of The American Red Cross Eastern PA Region

NO MORE FIRE DEATHS!

Over the past weekend, we lost seven (7) residents in our region due to fire.  Fire fatalities are completely preventable.  Although these fires occurred in different neighborhoods each shares one common factor – no working smoke alarms and no fire escape plan.  Smoke alarms and escape plans save lives.  Period.  The American Red Cross in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group and the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) analyzed five (5) years of fire data and substantiated what many Red Cross volunteers and fire fighters have known for years: fire fatalities are 70% more likely to occur without smoke alarms.   The smoke alarm is an early warning device.  It alerts a family that there is a problem but it is not enough.

 When a fire occurs, you have two minutes or LESS to get out of a burning building.  Fire escape plans help a family to understand exactly what to do and where to go when a fire occurs in their home. The combination of working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan dramatically increases the odds of survival.  During a pilot program in the City of Philadelphia, in which the Red Cross and PFD installed 10 year lithium powered smoke alarms and educated the families on fire escape plans, there were no fire fatalities.  To the contrary, three (3) families experienced fires after receiving 10 year lithium powered smoke alarms AND a fire escape plan and there were no fatalities!

There is no reason for anyone to die from a fire!  Please contact the American Red Cross and your local fire department for more information.  If you cannot afford smoke alarms, we can help.  Every family needs a fire escape plan.  Contact us, we will help.  Together we can ensure there are NO MORE FIRE DEATHS.

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