RV fire reemphasizes family preparedness with Red Cross Home Fire CampaignFeb 09, 2024 04:14PM ● By Linda Steele
American Red Cross’ Home Fire Campaign urges families to create fire escape plans among other preparations. (Courtesy Red Cross)
The American Red Cross wants to prepare families in case of a fire to be able to get out of their homes safely. The organization’s Home Fire Campaign aims to help families be prepared in case of fire. Red Cross representatives and partners make home visits to educate families on home fire preparedness. They will create a fire escape plan, smoke alarms will be checked and up to three free smoke alarms will be installed if necessary.
On the response side, 60% of disasters are home fires. The Red Cross is connected with fire departments throughout the state of Utah. When the Red Cross gets notified about a home fire they will send out volunteers or staff. They will respond to the home fires and be there to support families or individuals who are affected by a fire. When they arrive at the scene of the fire, they will provide immediate financial assistance to help them get settled, and make sure they have a place to go, make sure they have food, clothing, medical supplies if needed.
“If they have equipment that was lost in the fire we will make sure they get replaced as soon as possible so they are not without those items,” Jerimiah LaFranca said, Red Cross executive director of the Greater Salt Lake Chapter.
Beyond the individual’s immediate needs, the Red Cross will open a case and connect individuals with community partners to make sure there is a path of recovery for them. The Red Cross wants to make sure they get connected with different services to help them get taken care of for the immediate future.
“We love being able to serve the community and being able to do what we can,” LaFranca said.
It was evening on Dec. 25, 2023, a West Jordan couple were having Christmas dinner at the home of a family member when they received a phone call from a neighbor informing them that their RV, which is not only their primary residence but also their mode of transportation, was on fire. The West Jordan Fire Department responded, putting out the blaze and rescuing the family’s dog, who was inside the RV. Also on the scene that Christmas night were two trained volunteers with the Red Cross, who were able to provide help and support.
“If people are interested in getting installs and learning more about the Home Fire Campaign, they can go to redcross.org,” LaFranca said. “They are able to sign up to get three free smoke alarms and have the Red Cross go to their home and check their alarms are up to date, make sure the manufacturer’s date has not expired.” It is important to check the manufacturer’s date of the smoke alarm and check the batteries. Smoke alarms need to be checked once a month to make sure they are operational and change batteries every six months. The Home Fire Campaign will check that alarms are placed where they need to be located, in sleep areas, main living areas, kitchens. The smoke alarms should be placed outside of rooms, so they will go off and you will have enough time to leave the house.
“We teach people how to get out safely, it is part of the whole fire escape plan. We make sure the family knows how to leave the house safely, where to meet their family, and make sure everybody is prepared for the situation,” LaFranca said.
In 2023 the Red Cross staff and volunteers responded to 350 fires, helping nearly 1,500 people. In November 2023 they responded to a fire every other day.
“Fire picks up so much in the winter months because of space heaters or whatever it is that is being used to help stay warm, it tends to be more of a danger, “ LaFranca said.
The Red Cross does the smoke alarm checks as a free service. There are no strings attached. “We are out there to make sure the community is safe and we are happy to help,” LaFranca said. You can get all the information at redcross.org. λ