In a survey conducted by the National Fire Protection Association, researchers discovered that about 97% of the total U.S. population had at least one smoke alarm in their household. However, 37% of all home fire related deaths from 2007-2011 were in homes where no smoke alarm was present.
Furthermore, an additional 23% of casualties were in homes where smoke alarms were present but had been improperly tested or maintained. This translates to a casualty rate in households with malfunctioning or no smoke alarms that is twice as high as a household with one functioning smoke alarm.
The Red Cross recognizes the importance of having this first line of defense and has launched a Home Fire Preparedness Campaign that involves, among other aspects, free smoke alarm installations in homes without proper protection. This month, Red Cross volunteers traveled to the community of Weldon, California to install smoke alarms for 200 at-risk homes. In addition, these volunteers educated families on proper smoke alarm maintenance and the importance of making and practicing a family emergency plan.
If you would like to learn more or you would like to get involved in the prevention of home fire related suffering, please contact the Red Cross Central Valley Region by visiting redcross.org/centralvalleyregion.
AmeriCorps NPRC 2014-2015
American Red Cross Central Valley Chapter