In observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. “Day of Service,” on Monday, January 19 and Friday, January 23 the American Red Cross will canvass several northern Nevada cities with fire safety information, and offer to install free smoke alarms or fresh batteries for residents who need them.
Red Cross volunteers will be going door to door in Elko, Ely and Winnemucca to install smoke alarms in homes that need them and teach residents what they can do now to be prepared should a fire break out in their home.
This work is also part of a nationwide Red Cross initiative to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.
Every four days, a northern Nevada family is affected by a fire. The Red Cross campaign focuses on joining fire departments and community groups nationwide to install smoke alarms in communities with high numbers of fires and encouraging everyone to practice their fire escape plans.
The Red Cross also is asking every household in America to take the two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.
“Installing smoke alarms cuts the risk of someone dying from a home fire in half, so we’re reaching out to people in our community to install smoke alarms,” said Scott Emerson, Regional CEO for the American Red Cross.
Even as the Red Cross and other groups install smoke alarms in some neighborhoods, they are calling on everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home,
The Red Cross fire preparedness campaign comes at a time when a new national survey shows many Americans have a false sense of security about surviving a fire. The 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. Nearly one in five (18 percent) believe they have ten minutes or more.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States and the vast majority of those are home fires. In Nevada, the Red Cross assisted 549 families affected by a disaster last year.
Miriam Hodgman is originally from San Francisco. She previously was the communications coordinator for the largest hunger-relief organization in Sonoma County, California. She has a bachelor’s degree in American history, with a minor in American Indian studies, from San Francisco State University, and has a master’s degree in public administration from Sonoma State University. She enjoys training a variety of martial arts.