Living in Oklahoma can be a dangerous endeavor. Tornados, earthquakes, and Russell Westbrook are just a few of the forces of nature that inhabit the state every year. Despite that, home fires kill more people every year than all domestic natural disasters combined.
That is why the Red Cross and local partners have launched a Home Fire Campaign (HFC) to reduce the number of lives lost by 25 percent through the end of 2019. Additionally, the goal is to increase the number of home-fire responses by 10 percent, while expanding the assistance provided to the victims.
Preparedness education, combined with the correct resources, can achieve these objectives, and save hundreds of homes and lives. There are three basic steps to know.
Prepare to Prevent
It is important that you know how home fires usually start, so that you remember to be extra careful when engaging in any flammable activity. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, and one in five home fires involve heating equipment. Heating equipment can include a lot of things including curling irons, matches, and furnaces. When dealing with such items, it is imperative to use and put away the equipment meticulously, following proper safety instructions. And never leave heating equipment out, unsupervised, especially with young children. Other tips and tricks are available on the Red Cross website.
Prepare to Escape
Over half of the country believes they have a longer period to get out of their house than they actually do in the event of a fire. You have two minutes at best. That means from the time the fire is recognized, on average, you have two minutes to grab your essentials and leave.
That is why the Pillowcase Project was created. The Pillowcase Project helps kids and adults alike gather important items that they will be able to quickly access in case of a fire.
Equally important to escaping in time is having a prepared path of escape within the house, considering possible alternative exits in case a fire is blocking the preferred exit path.
Of course, the most important preparation tool is a working smoke alarm. This can increase your chance of survival by 50 percent. If you don’t have one, let the Red Cross know and they will make sure you are equipped.
Prepare to Recover
Home fires are synonymous with loss. That is why the Red Cross and local partners within a community exist: to help the victims of disasters recover to full strength. The Red Cross has a substantive recovery program for those affected by home fires, and the program continues to improve. Knowing what resources are available at no cost can help families recover from a devastating home fire, while maintaining their daily lives.
For more information, download the Red Cross phone Emergency app which has many resources that can be helpful in case of a fire, or any other disaster. Join the Red Cross and local partners in spreading the word about the HFC and help empower Oklahoma to defeat the home fire.