Home Fire Safety: American Red Cross Has Already Responded to Almost 1,700 Home Fires in 2022 

MIAMI, Fla. (January 11, 2022) – As home fires surge, the American Red Cross has responded to almost 1,700 home fires across the country in just the first nine days of the new year.

In 2021, the South Florida Red Cross responded to more than 600 home fires and helped more than 2,530 people with urgent needs like health and mental health services, financial assistance, comfort kits and other immediate needs, and it hasn’t slowed down in the start of 2022. Local Disaster Action Teams for the region have responded to 18 home fires and provided relief to almost 100 people in the first 10 days of the new year. The importance of being prepared has never be more crucial.

“While most people think of the Red Cross in terms of responding to large disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires and floods, over 95% of our responses are to single and multi-family fires,” said Ryan Logan, Regional Disaster Officer for the Red Cross South Florida Region. “The volunteers that make up our Disaster Action Team truly represent the best of humanity. They literally leave the comfort of their home or workplace regardless of the time of day and go help a total stranger at one of the worst times of their lives; it is pretty amazing when you think about it.”

HOME FIRE SAFETY

The Red Cross has steps people can follow to help them stay safe should a fire happen in their home. You can protect yourself from home fires by taking two simple steps: test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your fire escape plan.

  1. Test your smoke alarms monthly. Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, and inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it. Also, check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they need to be replaced because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes. To create your home fire escape plan, include at least two ways to exit every room in your home. Select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone knows to meet. Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like. Talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency.

TAKE ACTION

The South Florida Red Cross encourages those that may be in need of smoke alarms to email SFLpreparedness@redcross.org with your contact information to schedule an installation appointment with our trained Red Cross teams.

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