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Red Cross, firefighters to visit homes

FAIRFIELD BEACH – The American Red Cross and the Millersport Fire Department are launching a campaign to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.

The effort will begin in Fairfield Beach on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Firefighters, Red Cross volunteers and ECO Restorations volunteer will start canvassing homes at 10 a.m. They will install smoke alarms in homes that need them and teach residents about what they can do now to be prepared should a fire break out in their home.

“Installing smoke alarms cuts the risk of someone dying from a home fire in half, so we”re joining with groups fro across our community to install smoke alarms,” said Rod Cook, Executive Director of the EAst & South Central Ohio Chapter. “We also will be teaching people how to be safe from home fires.”

Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Rec 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.

There are several things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire:

• If you don’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

• If you have smoke alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.

• Make sure everyone in your family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.

• Practice that plan. What’s your household’s escape time?

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 10 minutes or more.

When asked about their confidence levels in actually escaping a burning home, roughly four in 10 of those polled (42 percent) believed they could get out in two minutes.

While 69 percent of parents believe their children would know what to do or how to escape with little help, the survey found that many families had not taken necessary steps to support that level of confidence.

• Less than one five of families with children age 3-17 (18 percent) report that they’ve actually practiced home fire drills.

• Less than half of parents (48 percent) have talked to their families about fire safety.

• Only one third of families with children (30 percent) have identified a safe place to meet outside their home.

In Newark, the Red Cross responded to 68 home fires last year.

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