MLK Day of Service Focuses on Fire Prevention

Feb. 02, 2013 @ 12:12 PM

The American Red Cross and volunteers from the Durham Fire Department and El Centro Hispano distributed smoke alarms and fire safety materials as part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to spread the word about the importance of fire safety in the home. On Jan. 19, nearly 70 staff and volunteers canvassed communities in Durham to distribute bilingual door hangers with fire safety tips.

“Fire is the biggest disaster threat to American families — not floods, hurricanes or tornadoes,” said Barry Porter, Red Cross Triangle Region chief executive officer. “And home fires are one disaster that can usually be prevented when people understand how to protect their families.”

City of Durham Fire Department Interim Fire Chief Daniel M. Curia helped kick off the day at a rally for local volunteers at the American Red Cross office in Durham.

In addition, Wells Fargo team members supported the Day of Service at three Triangle locations. After the kick-off events, Red Cross and El Centro Hispano volunteers handed out 40 smoke detectors, as well as door hangers and fire safety information, to more than 50 customers at the Wells Fargo store at the Avondale location in Durham..

The Red Cross met its goal for this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in the Triangle by reaching more than 2,213 families, people in communities in Durham and Raleigh with high incidences of fires over the past two years. Volunteers canvassed door-to-door to talk with community residents about fire safety and hand out fire safety door hangers printed in English and Spanish with information about smoke alarms, creating an escape plan and how to cook and heat a home safely.

Nationally, on average, the Red Cross provides food, shelter, comfort and hope to people affected by approximately 63,000 fires every year, or about one fire every eight minutes. The Triangle Region responded to 773 home fires last year and 17 people, including four children, died as a result of those fires.

When a fire occurs, the American Red Cross provides food, shelter, comfort and hope to meet the immediate needs of those affected. All Red Cross disaster assistance is free to those in need. You can help victims of home fires in your local community by making a donation to your local Red Cross chapter. To learn more, view the “Home Fires, Silent Disasters” video on YouTube.