1 minute readDisaster, Health & Safety

Home Fires and You

It Detects Dead People Too!

Did you know….

    that the American Red Cross responds to more than 63,000 fires each year?

    that 65% of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or with smoke alarms that don’t work?
    that last year, fire killed more Americans than all natural disasters combined?

Read more stats on the U.S. Fire Administration site.

Fire safety should always be a priority for your family, so check your smoke detectors, make a plan, and learn how to reduce risk.

Our local chapters respond to home fires every day. They work with affected families and individuals to make sure that they receive comfort and aid when they have few resources to turn to. You can read some accounts from Red Cross workers about the home fires they’ve recently responded to on the Greater Chicago Area Chapter blog.

I stand in silence and internalize the scene around me. A soiled and soot covered teddy bear under a burned down bunk bed. A fedora hanging on the wall next to a family portrait of Martin Luther King Junior’s family. A gold necklace with a heart pendant motionless on a desk that is black and dusty. Metal screws, wood pieces, peeled-back wallpaper. The soot, dripping down from the one white wall left in the home, is everywhere. I can smell the smoke. I can taste the smoke, on the tip of my tongue and in the back of my throat.
Donning the Red Vest

They asked about what the Red Cross does. I explained that, in Chicago, most of the disasters we respond to are fires. I told them that they were the 3rd family we’d helped today and it wasn’t yet noon. I explained how it is supported through donated funds and volunteers.

“I’d like to do that.” Letisha said to me. “I’d like to volunteer.” Michelle clung to her arm and smiled. She’d be a good volunteer.
When the Ash Settles

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  1. It’s a funny thing how something as simple as replacing the battery in a smoke detector often goes unnoticed. I myself am guilty of this–I can’t remember the last time I checked my smoke detector to make sure it was working correctly. It’s good to keep the awareness out there and to remind people to check this the same time they set the clocks back/ahead–the two should go hand-in-hand. I’ll be checking my alarm when I get home!