News release from the American Red Cross:
American Red Cross Issues Steps to Help Prevent Home Fires
(October 9, 2014) – A fire in the home is the biggest disaster threat to American families, more of a risk than floods, hurricanes or tornadoes. The American Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes and nearly all of these are home fires.
The American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana serves a 12 county area that includes Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Grant, Huntington, LaGrange, Miami, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, and Whitley counties. During the first half of this year, the local Red Cross responded to 97 fires affecting 104 families. That’s one fire every two days for an average of 15 fires per month.
The Red Cross is launching a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. As part of the campaign the Red Cross is joining fire departments and community groups nationwide to install smoke alarms in communities with high numbers of fires. The Red Cross also is asking every household in America to take the two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.
This Saturday, October 11, local Red Cross staff and volunteers, in conjunction with area fire fighters, will canvas targeted neighborhoods talking to individuals and families about fire safety and installing free fire detectors.
Saturday’s effort will focus on Allen County’s 46805 zip code and will continue from approximately 9:00 a.m. until noon. Members of the media wanting to locate the canvassing team, please contact Vince Robinson at (260) 480-8220 on Saturday.
Fortunately, most home fires can be prevented. Homeowners should avoid using items that can be hazardous such as candles and space heaters – common items that can turn dangerous very quickly.
To help avoid a fire in the home, there are steps someone can take now:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area, placing them on the ceiling or high on the wall.
- Put a smoke alarm inside every bedroom.
- Test the smoke alarms regularly. Install new batteries every year.
- Get new smoke alarms every ten years.
- Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
In the event of a house fire, individuals and families should also have a practiced escape plan. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out.
“Unfortunately, too many Americans have a false sense of security when it comes to house fires,” said Kimberly Stout, disaster program manager for the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana. “According to a recent survey, most people mistakenly believe they have a lot more time to escape a burning home than is actually the case.”
The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home. People should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a safe place to meet outside the home in case of a fire. Discuss the plan with everyone in the household and practice until every member of your household – including children – can escape in less than two minutes
People can also download the Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies including burns. The app has a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting redcross.org/apps.
You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit redcross.org/homefires.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross 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.