By: Chris Chmura, American Red Cross Volunteer
Could your family escape in 2 minutes in case of a home fire?
48 Ohio civilian home fire fatalities were reported by news media Jan. 1 – April 6, 2021. That is only the first four months of the year. See details from the U.S. Fire Administration here: https://apps.usfa.fema.gov/civilian-fatalities/incident/reportList/Ohio.
Home fires across the United States claim seven lives every day, but you can help change that.
Join our national American Red Cross movement and pledge to keep your family safe by taking 2 simple steps:
1. Practice a 2-minute fire drill
Use our worksheet to draw your home’s floor plan and plot your escape routes.
- Practice your 2-minute drill (from home to a safe meeting place) at least twice a year.
- Everyone in your household should know two ways to escape from each room in your home.
- In a real fire, remember to get out, stay out and call 911. Never go back inside for people, pets or things.
2. Test your smoke alarms monthly
Test your smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button.
- You should hear three beeps, letting you know the alarm is working.
- Don’t hear the beeps? Then it’s time to change the batteries, if your model requires them.
- If your smoke alarm is 10 years old, it’s time to get a new alarm because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time.
Now is time to commit, Northern Ohio
Take the pledge! We invite you to pledge to prepare by signing the Sound the Alarm pledge: https://www.redcross.org/sound-the-alarm.html.
Are you prepared for a home fire?
A 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, more than twice the amount they actually have. Nearly 18 percent mistakenly believe they have 10 minutes or more to get out.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, the Red Cross is not installing smoke alarms this year. However, we are partnering with some local fire departments which have agreed to install smoke alarms in neighborhoods with high numbers of home fires. The goal is to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years. Our Northern Ohio region has set the goal to install 1,000 smoke alarms!
Sound the Alarm is a critical part of the campaign. Through our home visits, we’ve installed more than 2.1 million free smoke alarms and prepared more than 2.3 million people for home fires.
836 lives saved 2,179,964 smoke alarms installed
901,170 households made safer 1,628,263 youth reached through campaign
Request a smoke alarm
To learn more about the fire preparedness campaign of Northern Ohio in your area and to request a smoke alarm, see the information in this link for your county: https://www.redcross.org/local/ohio/northern-ohio/about-us/our-work/home-fire-campaign/request-a-smoke-alarm.html.
If you, or your community organization, are interested in participating in the program, please call Volunteer Services at 216-431-3328 or email NEOvolunteer@redcross.org.
Teach kids about preparedness
Our age-appropriate preparedness materials include engaging activities and easy action steps that youth will find both fun and effective.
Due to COVID-19, all in-person youth presentations are currently suspended nationwide. Your local Red Cross may be able to conduct a virtual presentation for your students. Contact your local Red Cross for more information.
Volunteer to help others
Join your local Red Cross to help families prepare for, respond to and recover from home fire.
Make a donation
Help families prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from home fires.
Take a class
Red Cross Training + Certification: Simple, Fast and Easy
Edited by: Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer