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Fire Prevention Week: Red Cross Says Practice Escape Plans, Test Smoke Alarms

Red Cross Home Fire Campaign Installed 8,600 Free Smoke Alarms  in Western and Central New York Over Five Years

ENDICOTT, NY, Friday, October 4, 2019 National Fire Prevention Week is October 6 to 12, and the American Red Cross urges everyone to practice their home fire escape plan and test their smoke alarms.

“During Fire Prevention Week, prepare your family for home fires before the holidays and cold weather increase the risk of these crises,” said Colleen McCabe, Chief Operating Officer for the American Red Cross, Western and Central New York Region. “Home fires are most often caused by cooking and heating equipment, and we want everyone to stay safe. Please install and test smoke alarms on every level of your home, and practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in two minutes or less.”

PRACTICE YOUR PLAN AND TEST YOUR ALARMS For free home fire safety resources, visit or download the free Red Cross Emergency App (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).

Include at least two ways to get out of each room in your home fire escape plan.Select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone can meet.Practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in two minutes or less.Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, placing them inside and outside bedrooms, and sleeping areas.Test smoke alarms monthly, and change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.

LIFESAVING HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN MARKS FIVE YEARS Home fires take seven lives each day in the U.S., most often in homes without working smoke alarms. That’s why the Red Cross is working with partners to install free smoke alarms in high-risk communities and help families create escape plans through its Home Fire Campaign — which has saved at least 638 lives across the country, including 25 in Western and Central New York, since launching in October 2014.

“If it wasn’t for the smoke alarms, my son never would’ve got out,” said  Margaret Phillips of Whitney Point, NY. Phillips’ home caught fire in November, 2018, but alarms installed by Red Cross volunteers a month earlier helped her son escape with just a burned hand.

Over the past five years in Western and Central New York, the Red Cross and local partners have:

Installed more than 8,600 free smoke alarms.Reached more than 1,300 children through youth preparedness programs.Made more than 3,100 households safer from the threat of home fires.'

For more information on the Home Fire Campaign, please visit

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


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