|A Red Cross team assess the damage to a fire following|
fire on Christmas Eve in Jackson Heights (credit: M. Kokic).
The article in yesterday's NY Times, “Learn, Baby, Learn”
by Steven Kurutz, provides
an important reminder of the lasting impact that
home fires can have one people’s lives. Not only are fires one of the leading causes of death in America – 7
fatalities per day in the United States on average – but they also devastate a household’s emotional and
The NYC-area sees more home fires than anywhere else in the
nation, and these numbers spike when temperatures drop. At fire scenes
every day and night, after heroic firefighters extinguish a blaze, our Red
Cross volunteers provide assistance and comfort to our devastated fellow New
Yorkers who have just experienced a shocking life event. All too often, these
life-claiming, soul-crushing events are entirely preventable.
Amid the recent arctic weather, I want to reiterate the
importance of being mindful of the risks of using space heaters, fireplaces,
candles and even stoves when heating your homes. A functioning smoke alarm
is also invaluable in keeping your household safe—60% of fire deaths occur in
households without a working fire alarm.
While fires can occur in any neighborhood, the majority of them occur in the most vulnerable
communities in and around our
City. Every day and night, thousands of times per year, trained Red Cross
volunteers are aiding stunned families who have just fled for their lives, and
who can least afford a catastrophic life event.
At the Red Cross we’re proud of our volunteers for serving
our neighbors in need. But we would rather our fellow New Yorkers take
basic steps to prevent a horrific fire from ever occurring: install and test
your smoke alarms regularly, and heat your home safely. A few minutes of
preparation could save you and your family years of heartache.
American Red Cross in Greater New York