Sunday, January 23, 2011

Local Red Cross offers home fire safety tips

Photo courtesy Red Cross
Red Cross volunteers helps Jeremy (left) and Justin following fire.

Volunteers respond to 37 fires since Jan. 1

(PHOENIX) January 23, 2011 — Red Cross volunteers have been working around the clock since the start of the New Year. Last night, responders helped five people following two home fires in the Valley. Since January first, volunteers have been called to the scene of 37 home fires helping meet the immediate emergency needs of 141 people. The majority of the home fires have been in the Phoenix area, but volunteers have helped people from Lake Havasu City to Whiteriver and San Luis to Flagstaff.

Home fires are the biggest disaster threat to families. Last year, the Grand Canyon Chapter responded to nearly 550 home fires. With the recent rash of fires, your local Red Cross is encouraging Arizonans to take steps to minimize the risk of home fires by remembering two key fire safety steps: install a smoke alarm and develop a fire escape plan.

"Fires can strike suddenly and spread quickly,” says Bill Epps, Chief Executive Officer, Grand Canyon Chapter. “It’s important that people take simple and inexpensive steps now, such as installing a smoke alarm inside bedrooms, outside sleeping areas and on every level of their homes. They should also create a plan of escape in case they need to leave at a moment’s notice, because during a fire every second counts and being prepared can greatly reduce the affects of these devastating disasters.”

It is recommended that people check each smoke alarm in their home by pushing the test button at least once a month and replace batteries every year. Fire escape plans should include at least two escape routes from every room in the home, and a convenient meeting place at a safe distance from the home. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year and revise as necessary.

The Red Cross is committed to helping people learn how to minimize the risk of a home fire. The Grand Canyon Chapter also recommends the following fire safety tips:

Simple Steps to Help Prevent Fires

• Keep all sources of fuel (paper, clothing, bedding, and carpets or rugs) at least three feet away from all heat sources when cooking, or using alternative heating like a space heater.

• Don’t leave the kitchen while you’re frying, grilling or broiling food, and don’t leave home if you’re simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food.

• Keep matches and lighters away from and out of reach of children.

Safety Tips in the Event that a Fire Strikes Your Home

• Once you are out, stay out! Call the fire department from a neighbor’s home.

• If you see smoke or fire in your first escape route, use your second way out. If you must exit through smoke, crawl low under the smoke to your exit. If you are escaping through a closed door, feel the door before opening it. If the door is warm, use your second way out.

• If smoke, heat, or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with the door closed. Signal for help using a brightly colored cloth at the window. If there is a telephone in the room, call the fire department and tell them where you are.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information visit 

About the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter

The American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter is where volunteers from across central and northern Arizona come together to help people in need every day. The volunteer-led organization serves more than 5.2 million people in communities across Apache, Coconino, Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma counties. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the financial generosity of Arizona neighbors to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or call 1-800-842-7349.  To give blood, visit or call 1-800-GIVE LIFE.

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