Campaign credited with saving more than 640 lives nationwide
By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer
October 6, 2019- October 6th marks the fifth anniversary of the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, an initiative with roots in Northeast Ohio. First launched in October 2014 as a nationwide program, the campaign coincides with the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Prevention Week.
When the Home Fire Campaign began five years ago, the Red Cross and its partners sought to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over five years, through initiatives which include installing free smoke alarms and providing fire safety education.
The results are remarkable. Nationwide, the campaign has directly resulted in saving at least 642 lives, 14 of them here in Northeast Ohio.
Thus far, 1,915,555 smoke alarms have been installed nationwide, making 793,343 households safer. More than 62,600 of those alarms have been installed in Northeast Ohio, improving the safety of more than 20,000 homes in the region. In addition, 1,470,325 children have been reached through fire safety education, more than 16,000 of them in Northeast Ohio.
The devastation wrought by home fires is tremendous. On average, each day in the U.S. seven people die and 36 are injured as a result of home fires. They also account for the vast majority of more than 62,000 disasters the Red Cross responds to annually, and yearly property damage exceeds seven billion dollars.
The Northeast Ohio Region of the Red Cross is especially proud of the Home Fire Campaign and its success, as the program grew out of an initiative that began in Cleveland. In 1992 businessman and philanthropist Sam Miller and other civic leaders partnered with the Red Cross and Cleveland Fire Department to reduce fire fatalities.
The resulting program lasts throughout the year. And a nationwide initiative to install 100,000 smoke alarms during a two-week period takes place each spring. It is called Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. Volunteers and partners help the Red Cross install smoke alarms and provide fire safety education in neighborhoods deemed to be at high risk for home fires.
For more information on the Home Fire Campaign in Northeast Ohio, including how to request a free smoke alarm, donate, or become involved, please click here. The site also includes information about our partners. Additional information regarding the national Home Fire Campaign is available here. Both sites include fire safety and prevention tips, checklists, and tools.