Over the course of just a few weeks in April and May, more than 30,900 volunteers and thousands of partners from across the country joined the American Red Cross to Sound the Alarm against home fires by installing 103,400 free smoke alarms in communities at high risk for fires.
In the Central and Southern Illinois Region, more than 560 volunteers and partners joined the Red Cross to Sound the Alarm by installing 1,909 free smoke alarms and making 767 homes safer.
“The results surpassed our expectations and we are grateful to the volunteers, community partners and donors who contributed to the tremendous success of Sound the Alarm,” said Lyn Hruska, Regional Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois Region. “The impact of 1,909 new smoke alarms and having so families learn about home fire safety and create a home fire escape plan – it will make a difference.”
Every day, seven people are killed and another 36 are injured because of home fires. Tragically, most of these deaths occur in homes that don’t have working smoke alarms. Sound the Alarm is part of the multi-year Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, launched in 2014 to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries in this country by 25 percent. Since 2014, Red Cross volunteers and partners have installed more than 1.2 million smoke alarms and reached more than a million children through preparedness programs.
“The Home Fire Campaign is already credited with helping to save 431 lives including 17 lives in the Central and Southern Illinois Region,” added Hruska. We will build on this momentum and continue to reach more families and communities with lifesaving preparedness information in the months and years ahead.”
This work was made possible thanks to generous financial donations from national partners: Almost Family, Delta Air Lines and International Paper. The Home Fire Campaign and Sound the Alarm events are supported locally by State Farm, Ameren Illinois and WQAD.
In a typical year, home fires kill more people in the United States than all other natural disasters combined. They are the most common disaster people face in this country – and are the majority of the nearly 64,000 disasters the Red Cross responds to every year. However, a recent Red Cross survey showed most people are overconfident and underprepared when it comes to home fire safety. The details of this survey are available here.
WHAT YOU CAN DO To help save lives, the Red Cross is asking every household in America to take two simple steps:
1. Practice fire drills at home. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home and the Red Cross urges every household to create a fire escape plan and practice it until everyone can escape in less than two minutes.
2. Check smoke alarms monthly. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms. Test smoke alarms once a month. Change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.