Red Cross Encourages Community to Test Smoke Alarms and Practice Fire Drills at Home
In partnership with the Columbia Fire Department, the American Red Cross, Central SC Chapter announced today during a press conference that they will be kicking-off on Saturday, October 11, 2014 a new campaign in South Carolina and across the country to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.
The Red Cross campaign focuses on increasing the use of smoke alarms in neighborhoods with high numbers of home fires and encouraging everyone to practice their fire escape plans
“Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire and we have witnessed that tragedy right here our community,” said Bill Cronin, executive director, American Red Cross Central SC Chapter. “There are simple steps every household can take right now to prevent home fires and save lives.”
Simple Steps to Save Lives
The Red Cross is calling on everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.
There are several other things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire:
- 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.
- If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.
- Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
- Practice that plan. What’s the household’s escape time?
New Poll Shows Many People Have False Sense of Security about Fire Safety
The Red Cross fire prevention campaign comes at a time when a new national survey shows many Americans have a false sense of security about surviving a fire. The survey, conducted for the Red Cross, shows that people mistakenly believe they have more time than they really do to escape a burning home.
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. But most Americans (62 percent) mistakenly believe they have at least five minutes to escape. Nearly one in five (18 percent) believe they have ten minutes or more.
When asked about their confidence levels in actually escaping a burning home, roughly four in 10 of those polled (42 percent) believed they could get out in two minutes.
While 69 percent of parents believe their children would know what to do or how to escape with little help, the survey found that many families had not taken necessary steps to support that level of confidence:
- Less than one in five of families with children age 3-17 (18 percent) report that they’ve actually practiced home fire drills.
- Less than half of parents (48 percent) have talked to their families about fire safety.
- Only one third of families with children (30 percent) have identified a safe place to meet outside their home.
Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins said, “I would like to thank Bill Cronin and the American Red Cross, Central SC Chapter for partnering again with the Columbia Fire Department during Fire Prevention Week and for their continued support of the citizens of the City of Columbia and Richland County as they tirelessly help our communities during what maybe the worst moment in their life..
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States and the vast majority of those are home fires. Red Cross of Central South Carolina assisted 1997 people last year who were affected by disaster with the majority of these being home fires. 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.
It costs the Red Cross $1,275 to assist a family of four. You can help a family who has lost everything to a home fire by participating in the Fire Hurts, Red Cross Helps Campaign. This year’s goal is to raise $160,000 to support 125 local families affected by fire.
You can donate by calling your Red Cross of Central SC at (803) 540-1200 or visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross July 17-20, 2014 using ORC International’s Online CARAVAN omnibus survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,130 American adults, including 311 parents of children aged 3-17. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the US adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education. The margin of error for the total sample of 1,130 adults is +/- 2.92 percent. The margin of error for the sample of 311 parents is +/- 5.56 percent.