Taking simple steps to save lives

Red Cross and State Farm attempt to reduce home fire deaths and injuries

Staff reports

The American Red Cross and State Farm Insurance agent Shane McMahon’s office will be conducting a canvassing campaign in Washington C.H. to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.

Seven times a day, someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross campaign focuses on joining fire departments and community groups nationwide to install smoke alarms in communities with high numbers of fires and encouraging everyone to practice their fire escape plans.

The Red Cross also is asking every household in America to take two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.

“Installing smoke alarms cuts the risk of someone dying from a home fire in half, so we’re joining with groups from across our community to install smoke alarms,” said Rod Cook, executive director of the East & South Central Ohio Chapter. “We also will be teaching people how to be safe from home fires.”

Red Cross volunteers alongside of State Farm employees, the Washington C.H. Fire Department personnel, and community volunteers will be going door to door on Oct. 19 to install smoke alarms in homes that need them and to teach people about what they can do now to be prepared should a fire break out in their home.

Additionally, a “Touch a Truck” event will take place at the Washington C.H. Fire Station, 225 E. Market St., between noon and 1 p.m. Educational materials will be available and free hot dogs will be provided by State Farm. Representatives will also be available throughout the day to register your home for free smoke alarms to be installed on another date.

Even as the Red Cross and other groups install smoke alarms in some neighborhoods, they are 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 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?

The Red Cross fire preparedness 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 10 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.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States and the vast majority of those are home fires. In Newark, Ohio, the Red Cross responded to 68 homes fires last year. Those interested 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.

Red Cross and State Farm attempt to reduce home fire deaths and injuries

Staff reports

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