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Home fires kill seven people everyday. 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.

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.

Sound the Alarm North Carolina 2018

CTSY Adam Jennings/American Red Cross

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.

Across U.S., Red Cross Responds to Nearly 60% More Home Fires in First Days of 2018 Than in 2017

As part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, Red Cross Eastern PA will install free smoke alarms over the upcoming Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service weekend and on Monday.

  • SEPA: Saturday, January 13th in Philadelphia from 9a – 2 p.
    • Boys Latin Charter MS – 344 N. Felton Street (near 63rd & Callowhill) and St. Matthews AME Church, 215 N. 57th Street (57th & Race)
  • Tri-County: Saturday, January 13th in Ashland, Schuylkill County from 9:30a – 3p.
    • American Hose Company 639 Walnut Street, Ashland, PA 17921
  • NEPA: Monday, January 15th in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County from 9a – 2p
    • Hollenback Fire Station 1020 North Washington Street Wilkes Barre, PA 18705
  • NEPA: Monday, January 15th in Carbondale, Lackawanna County from 9a – 2p.
    • Carbondale Fire Bureau 8 6th Avenue Carbondale, PA 18407
  • SEPA: Monday, January 15th in Norristown, Montgomery County from 9a – 2p.
    • Montgomery Hose Company is 201 W Freedley St, Norristown, PA 19401.
  • Tri-County: Monday, January 15th in Reading, Berks County from 9:30a – 3p.
    • Tri-County Chapter 701 Centre Avenue, Reading, PA  19601

Highmark

HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVES 332 LIVES The Red Cross responds to as many as 64,000 disasters every year and most of these are home fires. Sadly, seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire.

To combat these statistics, the Red Cross launched its Home Fire Campaign in 2014, focusing on installing free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires and teaching people about fire safety. Since the start of the campaign, the Red Cross and partners have installed more than 1 million smoke alarms and helped to save 332 lives.

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.

Red Cross volunteers across the country have already responded to 3,150 home fires in the first nine days of the year, compared to 2,003 fires in 2017. Some of this may be attributed to the recent string of dangerously cold days, as colder temperatures are often linked to a rise in home fires. Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months, according to the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration.

After a home fire, a Red Cross volunteer is often among the first on the scene – offering emotional support, helping those affected to find a place to stay and assisting with recovery. As of January 9, the Red Cross has already opened 4,400 cases to help a total of 12,500 people get back on their feet after home fires in 2018.

 

-Monica Cryan

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s more persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

As part of the MLK Day of Service, the Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region participated in a nationwide effort to install 15,000 smoke alarms in homes across the country.  The Red Cross held six smoke alarm installation events across our 17 county region, installing approximately 1,200 smoke alarms. It’s all part of the continuing Home Fire Campaign to make our communities safer and better prepared.

Red Cross volunteers, along with local fire departments and our community partners, went door-to-door to speak with residents and educate them on potential home fire hazards and risks. Fire safety information was provided in English and Spanish and residents received free smoke alarms installed in their homes.

Since 2015, the Eastern Pennsylvania Region, in partnership with local fire departments and community partners, have installed approximately 8,000 smoke alarms.

Take a moment to watch the MLK Day of Service Video.

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Lehigh Valley-Bucks Chapter

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Tri-County Chapter

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NEPA Chapter

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SEPA Chapter

Photo galleries of the events can be found here.

IMPACT OF HOME FIRES & RED CROSS RESPONSE:  Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire and on average 36 people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day. To combat these tragic statistics, the Red Cross has launched a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25 percent by 2020. Since 2014 the Home Fire Campaign has saved 116 lives nationwide.

Home fires remain the biggest disaster threat to individuals and families in the United States and the number one disaster the Red Cross responds to in America. This campaign is in direct response to that dire threat, with the Red Cross committed to install 2.5 million free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires, and to educate those residents about fire prevention and preparedness.

HOME FIRE SAFETY, A FEW SIMPLE STEPS: Most home fires can be prevented. The Red Cross is asking everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarm and practice fire drills at home.

There are several things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of survival in a fire:

  1. If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them.  At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives and practice.
  2. If someone does have alarms, test them today.  If they don’t work, replace them.
  3. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and the home in less than two minutes.
  4. Practice the plan with home fire drills.  What’s the household’s escape time?  An individual only has two minutes.

 

To become a Red Cross volunteer please visit, www.redcross.org/volunteer.