American Red Cross launches new fire safety campaign

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The American Red Cross is hoping to reduce fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years with their new fire safety campaign.

Just in Northeast Ohio, the Red Cross responded to nearly 1,000 home fires last year with nearly 50 fatalities. Nine of those killed were children. This new campaign will provide smoke detectors to families who are without.

Seven people die every day in house fire across the country,  according to the American Red Cross.

Among Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties — at least 10 people have died in fires since the start of the year.

“The most response that Red Cross does in this community — we respond to home fires. The fire department calls us and we’re providing food shelter and clothing for these victims. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were put out of work in this area,” said Karen Conklin, Lake to River Red Cross.

The Lake to River Chapter of the Red Cross wants to install 1,500 free smoke detectors in the valley.

They will first reach out to areas that have house fires on a regular basis.

But, they want people to call them if they NEED a working detector.

A recent Red Cross poll indicates that many Americans have a false sense of security about surviving a house fire.

Fire safety education will be a large part of this campaign.

“Fires affect every socioeconomic group. So everybody out there– today I would ask you, is your smoke alarm working and if not make it work. If you don’t have one — call us and make a plan for you and your family,” said Conklin.

She hopes to start the installation process within the next few weeks.

Lieutenant Chuck Eggleston of the Warren City fire department says your fire plan should not stop after putting up the detector.

“Smoke detectors only have ashelf life of ten years. The biggest thing I try to emphasize to people is — they think they are safe because they have smoke detectors. But they really need to take it off the ceiling look at the belly of the detector. It’ll have a manufacturing date and if it’s older than 10 years they need to replace it,” said Warren City Fire Department Lt. Chuck Eggleston.

Eggleston also suggests checking the alarm once a month and changing the batteries twice a year.

“Until the need is not there we’re going to do everything we can to get as many smoke alarms installed as we can,” said Eggleston.

The Red Cross will be relying heavily on volunteers for this project. If you are not sure who to contact to sign up to volunteer or if you are in need of a smoke detector — go to redcross.org to find your nearest branch.

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