Red Cross Encourages Fire Safety during National Fire Prevention Week

October 8, 2012

COLUMBIA, SC – October 8, 2012 – This October 7-13 the American Red Cross encourages families and businesses to learn how to protect themselves and others from fires in observance of National Fire Prevention Week. Last year, the Red Cross responded to about 63,000 home fires across the country by providing comfort and basic necessities to more than 82,000 families.

We respond to a disaster every eight hours across the Columbia Region, said Scott R. Salemme, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross, Columbia Region. The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones is to install a smoke alarm and develop and practice a fire escape plan. Fires can spread very quickly, so everyone at home, school and work should know what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm.

Additional recommendations include:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year.
  • Follow your escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.
  • Visit for additional fire safety tips.

The Red Cross is there to help those in need when disasters strike. The Columbia Region, which serves 28-counties in South Carolina, responded to 1,035 disasters and assisted 1,090 people last year.

In conjunction with National Fire Prevention Week, the Red Cross has kicked-off, Fire Hurts – Red Cross Helps, a local initiative to encourage community members and businesses to make a financial donation of $1,250 to support a family following a home fire. The average cost to provide Red Cross disaster relief services to a family of four is $1,250. Click here to learn more about this initiative.

In order to respond to disasters in our community the Red Cross depends on the generous financial support of individuals and businesses, added Salemme. Giving through Fire Hurts – Red Cross will ensure that our essential services are provided everyday to families who have been devastated by a home fire.

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 visit or join our blog at