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American Red Cross Stresses Family Preparedness
During National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13

Date: October 5, 2007
Contact: Diane Concannon, Public Relations Director 609.951.2116; (cell) 609.206.4043

PRINCETON, NJ, October 5, 2007—The American Red Cross urges families to prepare for and prevent a home fire during National Fire Prevention Week—Practice Your Escape Plan, October 7-13. Nationally, the number of home fires the Red Cross responds to is up 10 percent since the year 2000. Alarmingly, only 26 percent of families have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan, according to a May 2006 poll conducted by ORC International on behalf of the Red Cross.

“Last year the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey responded to 118 home fires in our service area,” said Kevin Sullivan, CEO of the local Red Cross chapter. “Preventing a home fire doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or training, and Fire Prevention Week is a great time to get started.”

“In addition to having working smoke alarms, one of the easiest ways you can prepare is to develop and practice a home fire escape plan so that every family member can escape quickly and safely,” continued Sullivan. “A home fire escape plan includes at least two escape routes for every room in the home, and a convenient meeting place at a safe distance from a fire.”

The American Red Cross offers the following recommendations regarding fire escape plans:

  • Family plans should include two ways to escape from every room in the home.
  • Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
  • Select a safe location away from the home where your family can meet after escaping.
  • Consider purchasing and storing escape ladders for rooms above ground level and practice using them.
  • If you see smoke or fire in your first escape route, use your second way out.
  • If you must exit through smoke, crawl low under the smoke.
  • Before escaping through a closed door, feel the door before opening it. If it is warm, use your second escape route.
  • If smoke, heat or flames block both of your exit routes, stay in the room with the door closed. Place a rolled towel underneath the door. Signal for help by waving a brightly colored cloth or shining a flashlight at the window. If there is a telephone in the room, call the fire department and let them know your exact location inside the home.
  • Once you’ve escaped your home, stay out.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of Central New Jersey residents to respond to our neighbors who are affected by home fires. You can help the Red Cross be ready to respond and help fire victims by making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey today.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, click here.

The American Red Cross of Central New Jersey provides disaster relief services locally and, as part of the American Red Cross, in many large-scale disasters. American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. For more information on the programs and services of the American Red Cross and to learn how you can get involved, contact your local chapter. For Middlesex, Mercer, Hunterdon, and parts of Somerset counties, visit the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey website at or call 609/951-8550.


707 Alexander Road, Suite 101, Princeton, NJ 08540-6311. 609-951-8550 . Fax: 609-951-9787
Hunterdon Branch: 349 Route 31 South, Suite 501, Flemington, NJ 08822 . 908-782-4121 . Fax: 908-782-2864

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