Greater NY Red Cross Kicks Off New Campaign To Reduce Home Fire Deaths and Injuries

Greater NY Red Cross Kicks Off New Campaign To Reduce Home Fire Deaths and Injuries

New national survey finds many people have a false sense of security in their family’s ability to survive a fire


NEW YORK – October 8, 2014 —The American Red Cross has announced a new national campaign to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.  The campaign seeks to increase the use of smoke alarms in neighborhoods with higher numbers of home fires and to encourage all Americans to practice their fire escape plans.


The fire prevention effort comes at a time when a new Red Cross national survey shows many Americans have a false sense of security about surviving a fire (see survey results below).

Here in Greater New York, the Red Cross knows all too well the devastating impact that home fires can have on residents. Every year the organization provides emergency relief following nearly 2000 home fires impacting thousands of families every year in this region. All too often these disasters can prove fatal.

Over the coming five years the Red Cross, in partnership with lead sponsor Airbnb, will roll out fire safety efforts across the region. To achieve their goals, the organization will also partner with local fire departments, as well as area community groups.

“We’re asking every household to take two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home,” said Josh Lockwood, Regional CEO, Greater NY Red Cross. “This planning becomes all the more urgent as we approach the winter months, a time during which we see a spike in home fires. Thank you to Airbnb for supporting this vital lifesaving effort, which we hope will have a tremendous impact on our most vulnerable communities over the next five years,” Lockwood said.

“Airbnb is proud to partner with the New York Red Cross to support their life-saving fire prevention efforts,” said Wrede Petersmeyer, Airbnb’s New York City Manager. “By raising awareness around fire hazards and providing more tools to protect homes and families, we know that this work will make our communities safer and stronger.”


Simple Steps to Save Lives


The Red Cross is calling on everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home,
There are several other things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire:

  • If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives.
  • If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.
  • Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get to safety in less than two minutes.
  • Practice that plan. What’s the household’s escape time?


New Poll Shows Many People Have False Sense of Security about Fire Safety

The national survey, conducted for the Red Cross, shows that people mistakenly believe they have more time than they really do to escape a burning home. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape to safety before it’s too late to get out. But most Americans (62 percent) mistakenly believe they have at least five minutes to escape, more than twice the amount they actually have. Nearly 18 percent erroneously believe they have ten minutes or more to get out.


When asked about their confidence levels in escaping a burning home, about 42 percent of those polled said they could get out in two minutes. Nearly seven in 10 parents (69 percent) believe their children would know what to do or how to escape with little help.

However, the poll showed few actions had been taken that would support the level of confidence of parents about their children’s ability to escape a fire:

  • Less than one in five families with children age 3-17 (18 percent) have actually practiced home fire drills.
  • Less than half of parents (48 percent) have talked to their families about fire safety.
  • Only one third of families with children (30 percent) have identified a safe place to meet outside their home.


To learn more about fire safety, visit

The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross July 17-20, 2014 using ORC International’s Online CARAVAN omnibus survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,130 American adults, including 311 parents of children aged 3-17. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the US adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education. The margin of error for the total sample of 1,130 adults is +/- 2.92 percent. The margin of error for the sample of 311 parents is +/- 5.56 percent.


About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About Airbnb:
Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world – online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.



Alexander P. Lutz, Jr.

Regional Senior Director of Community Relations


American Red Cross

Greater New York Region

520 West 49th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-875-2396 (p)

646-491-2844 (c)

646-557-5853 (f)

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