East Hawaii News

Red Cross Campaigns Against Home Fires

September 28, 2015, 1:06 PM HST
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A nationwide campaign to save lives and reduce injuries from home fires has been at the forefront of the Red Cross’s focus since October of 2014. In the past year, 63,000 families have received smoke alarms and safety education in their homes from Red Cross volunteers, firefighters, and other community partners. Through the use of Red Cross volunteers and apps, more than 311,000 children have learned to be safer in emergencies.

“In this country, seven people lose their lives every day from a home fire,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, Chief Executive Officer of the Hawai’i Red Cross.  “Even one death from a home fire is tragic, because many of these deaths are preventable. When communities work together, we know we can reach more families, install life-saving smoke alarms in their homes and teach fire safety.”

The American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent.

Red Cross volunteers working alongside fire departments and community groups across the country have installed more than 125,000 smoke alarms in nearly 2,400 cities and towns.

In the past year, more than 1,900 local partners and 40 national partners have come together to save 26 lives in six mainland states.

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Hawai’i Red Cross volunteers have placed special focus on the islands, signing families up for the installation of free smoke alarms and teaching fire safety to adults and youth members of the community.

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“Working smoke alarms cut the risk of death by home fires in half.  As part of our lifesaving mission, Red Cross volunteers are educating the community and providing vital information on fire safety and the importance of maintaining working smoke alarms,” explained Matayoshi. “When a home fire or other disaster occurs, the Red Cross assists with the immediate needs of those affected such as food, clothing, shelter and crisis counseling. Unfortunately, the Red Cross is called to help after tragedies occur; this is a way to help prevent them.”

The Red Cross estimates that once a fire begins, it is possible that there is only two minutes to get out of the burning home. As part of its campaign, the Red Cross asks every household in America to take two steps that could save lives: check existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home with a fire escape plan.

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