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Red Cross Urges Families to Remember #EmergenciesDontStop, Practice Fire Safety

April 2, 2020

BUFFALO, NY, Thursday, - During the “New York State on PAUSE” initiative to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the American Red Cross is reminding everyone that #EmergenciesDontStop, and encouraging families to practice fire safety while staying at home.

Between March 16-March 31, Disaster Action Team volunteers responded to 32 home fires and other incidents across Western and Central New York, providing immediate emergency assistance to 162 people from 57 households. Red Cross assistance typically includes funding for temporary housing, food and clothing as needed, and specially-trained Disaster Mental Health volunteers are available to help those affected deal with the emotional aspect of their disaster. Volunteers followed COVID-19 protocols, including screening and social distancing, while meeting with families to determine their immediate emergency needs.

#EmergenciesDontStop. Help provide comfort and hope for people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Gifts enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-REDCROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Across the country, home fires take an average of seven lives a day. The Red Cross urges families to take two simple steps to help prevent these tragedies: Test smoke alarms monthly, and practice home fire escape plans at least twice a year.

Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and check them monthly. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late. All households should create a home fire escape plan and practice it until everyone can escape in less than two minutes.

  • Escape plans should include at least two ways to escape from every room in the home.

  • Select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from the home, such as a neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in the front yard, where everyone knows to meet.

  • Take time to discuss and practice the plan with everyone in the household at least twice a year.

Visit for a home fire escape plan and other free resources.

Thanks to the many who gave blood and scheduled upcoming appointments, the American Red Cross has been able to meet immediate patient needs. During this uncertain time, we encourage individuals to keep scheduled blood donation appointments and to make new blood donation appointments for the weeks ahead to ensure a stable supply throughout this pandemic. If you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment to donate mid-April and after by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).


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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