Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Staying Fire Safe Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Last night, the American Red Cross responded to two 3-alarm fires across New York City, providing emergency assistance to 40 families. These responses marked the end of a month with 200+ disaster responses for the Red Cross across the Greater New York Region, mostly fires, after which the organization provided emergency assistance to nearly 1200 residents in NYC, Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley and Greenwich, Conn.

These incidents are a reminder of the importance of fire safety. The Red Cross is encouraging families to use this time, while sheltering in place together, to talk about fire safety and practice fire drills. Below are a few tips:

Top tips:

  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms in your home and test them regularly.
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  • Ensure that all household members know how to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
  • Practice escaping from your home. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out. Ensure you can escape your home in two minutes.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  • Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
  • Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
Cook more safely
  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. Stay in the home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food.
  • Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops.
  • Keep the stove area clean and clear of things that can catch fire, such as pot holders, towels, curtains, bags, and other appliances.
  • If you are cooking and a fire starts in a pan, slide a lid over the burning pan and turn off the burner. Leave the lid in place until the pan is completely cool. Moving the pan can cause serious injury or spread the fire. Never pour water on grease fires.
If you do nothing else:
  • Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of residential fire deaths in the United States. If you smoke, take precautions: Smoke outside; choose fire-safe cigarettes; never smoke in bed, when drowsy or medicated, or if anyone in the home is using oxygen.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended, even for a minute.
Click here or visit for more Red Cross fire safety tips.

Last night the Red Cross helped residents forced from their homes after two large fires. One in Brooklyn and another in the Bronx.
  • Brooklyn: The Red Cross responded to the fire on Hancock Street providing assistance, including emergency housing and financial assistance to 7 families (22 adults/9 children).
  • Bronx: The Red Cross responded to the fire on Grand Concourse providing assistance, including emergency housing and financial assistance, to 33 families (80 adults/21 children).
The Red Cross will continue to work with these residents (remotely) over the coming days to address additional needs.

The Red Cross is committed to ensuring the safety of their workforce and the people they serve. New protocols enacted by the Red Cross include remote casework and registration as well as social distancing. As this coronavirus crisis continues to evolve, the Red Cross will continue to support those impacted by local disasters.

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