By Brett Murray, Communications Intern
Seven times a day, someone in this country dies in a home fire. To save lives, the Red Cross launched nationwide campaign to reduce the number of fire related deaths and injuries from home fires by 25 percent. The Red Cross has reached into local, fire-prone communities with fire safety campaigns.
Armed with batteries and smoke alarms, Red Cross volunteers canvassed the Metro-East community of Belleville, IL, to test, install or replace the devices last Saturday, as a part of National Fire Prevention Week. Over 50 volunteers went door-to-door throughout the day and offered to test and replace each homes’ smoke alarm or create a preparedness plan in case of fire. You can see some of their volunteer efforts here. Overall, they installed 49 smoke alarms, 20 batteries and created 29 preparedness plans, with the help of the Belleville police and fire departments, St. Paul United Church of Christ and the City of Belleville.
In addition to our local efforts, the Red Cross worked with the Today show to unveil some new facts and figures about residential fires. For instance, 52 percent of Americans have never talked to their kids about fire safety, and 82 percent of families never practiced a family fire drill. These figures are alarming enough, but the Today show took things a step further and found a Connecticut family who demonstrated what they might do in the event of a kitchen fire. During the video, we see the family review their response and go over their mistakes with Ryan O’Donnell of BullEx, a fire safety company. To read the full article and watch the video, visit the Today show website.
You can prepare for a home fire by using the Red Cross Home Fire Safety checklist and the Home Fire Escape Plan, which helps you prevent fires and map out your escape route in the event of one. These materials can be found on the Red Cross website. One invaluable prevention method is a smoke alarm. Smoke alarms cut the chances of dying in a home fire by half. For a minimal cost, you can keep your family safe by simply installing at least one smoke alarm on each floor of your home and replacing the batteries annually.