Utah Red Cross reaches milestone in Home Fire Campaign

SALT LAKE CITY — The Red Cross in Utah announced Monday that, along with distributing home fire safety information, the organization has installed over 1,000 free smoke alarms in Utah so far. The national Home Fire Campaign to reduce death and injury in home fires was launched October 2014.

According to a release issued by the Red Cross, seven times a day, someone dies in a home fire. Every 40 minutes, an injury from a fire is reported. Nearly 1,000 times every day, fire departments are called to home fires.

In Utah, the Red Cross responds to a fire on average every 2.5 days; nationally, every 8 minutes, the release stated. Damage from U.S. home fires is bigger than the entire annual sales of many Fortune 500 companies.

For the past 20 years, these numbers have been relatively stagnant.

By mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors, the American Red Cross and its coalition partners are attacking this stagnation. In an unprecedented, nationwide effort to combine new technology and innovation with old-fashioned neighbor-to-neighbor outreach, it is saving lives, reducing injuries and cutting down on needless losses.

Its goal is to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries in the United States by 25 percent within five years. This basically happens in two ways:

  • Door to door installation of smoke alarms, replacement batteries as needed and completion of home fire safety checklists and written evacuation plan
  • A marketing and public relations campaign to motivate ordinary people to take action to save themselves, their families and their neighbors by checking smoke alarms and practicing evacuating when the alarm goes off

The Red Cross and its partners are doing this by establishing local coalitions in communities all across America, including local fire departments, houses of worship, businesses, schools, after-school groups, public health departments, social service agencies, neighborhood leaders and others. These coalitions supports all elements of the strategy.

Read more: Red Cross workers go door-to-door with free smoke alarms; STGnews Videocast – Washington City, May 2015

One cornerstone of the campaign is going door to door where it counts the most. Data shows that the 4 percent of homes without smoke alarms represent nearly 40 percent of the home fires and that working smoke alarms can double someone’s chance of surviving a fire. By combining data from five years of responses to home fires by Red Cross volunteers with demographic risk factors like poverty, maps highlight the neighborhoods at greatest risk.

The coalition will also be nimble and target areas dynamically in the event that there is an outbreak of fires in a neighborhood during the campaign. Volunteers from the coalition will go to homes in those neighborhoods with home safety checklists, family disaster plan templates and smoke alarms. When invited, they will complete a checklist and plan with the family, and they will install smoke alarms in the residence.

The Red Cross will also install smoke alarms as needed for clients who move into new homes after disasters, and engage its partners who provide services in homes to install alarms. Additional efforts are underway to uncover needs through homeowners associations and property managers or rental single and multifamily residences.

The goal each year is to install 500,000 smoke alarms. Here are the nationwide results of the campaign so far:

  • Over 83,000 smoke alarms installed
  • 12,000 batteries replaced
  • 35,000 escape plans written
  • At least 13 lives saved as a direct result of the campaign

In the upcoming 12 month period, the Utah Red Cross will install an additional 2,000 alarms while distributing preparedness and safety information. Besides conducting weekly canvassing events throughout the state, people that need smoke alarms (up to three per house) can call the Red Cross and have them installed at no cost.


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