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Red Cross of WNY kicks off home fire safety campaign

On Thursday, the American Red Cross of WNY launched its annual Sound the Alarm/Homes Made Safer campaign. The national effort will focus on virtual education.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The American Red Cross of Western New York has launched its annual campaign to raise awareness and education about fire safety.

"Sound the Alarm/Homes Made Safer" is part of a national effort to education 100,000 people about home fire safety, especially in high-risk neighborhoods.

This year the campaign will focus on virtual education because of the pandemic. Residents can take part in a free, 15-minute home fire safety virtual education session.

Click here to register.

“Home fires remain the most frequent disaster during COVID-19, yet most of us don’t realize we have just two minutes to safely escape,” said Alan H. Turner, II, Regional CEO, American Red Cross of Western New York. “As families spend more time at home during the pandemic, it’s critical that we help our vulnerable neighbors protect themselves from these everyday disasters.”

Since the Sound the Alarm campaign launched in 2014, local volunteers have reached 11,481 homes, installed 29,764 smoke alarms, and saved 33 lives.

Western New York is among more than 50 at-risk areas participating in the national initiative. Past campaigns focused on in-person fire safety education and smoke alarm installation.

The Red Cross offers the following tips to keep you and your family safe:

  • Create an escape plan with at least two ways to exit every room in your home. 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 knows to meet.
  • Practice your escape plan until everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes.
  • Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Change the batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.
  • Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they likely need to be replaced. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.