New survey: Americans overconfident, unprepared about home fires

New survey: Americans overconfident, unprepared about home fires
Andy Brubaker, The American Red Cross SW GA Exec Director (Source: WALB)
Andy Brubaker, The American Red Cross SW GA Exec Director (Source: WALB)
Sebon Burns, Albany Fire Department Interim Fire Chief (Source: WALB)
Sebon Burns, Albany Fire Department Interim Fire Chief (Source: WALB)
One in 10 people have to sacrifice buying other essentials instead of purchasing a smoke alarm (Source: The American Red Cross)
One in 10 people have to sacrifice buying other essentials instead of purchasing a smoke alarm (Source: The American Red Cross)
The survey found that 43% of total respondents have a home fire escape plan, but almost half (44%) of them have not practiced their plan. (Source: The American Red Cross)
The survey found that 43% of total respondents have a home fire escape plan, but almost half (44%) of them have not practiced their plan. (Source: The American Red Cross)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - According to a new American Red Cross survey about one in four people believes they are likely to experience a home fire in their lifetime.

About 40% of people have forgotten to turn off a stove or oven, even though cooking is the leading cause of home fires.

Now the American Red Cross and Firefighters want to remind everyone to ensure safe practices.

The American Red Cross of Southwest Georgia, Executive Director, Andy Brubaker said every day seven people lose their life in home fires.

It is crucial to check your smoke detector batteries to ensure it is alarming properly too.

One of the demographic findings in the survey reveals that African American and Hispanic households are more likely to have to prioritize the purchase of a smoke detector over other family essentials.

"We see so many folks unprepared, even though they think they are prepared," explained Brubaker, "And so it just takes time for education of people to have a better understanding that they need to get out of their homes when their smoke alarm goes off. And they've only got minutes and seconds to do that."

Albany Fire Department Interim Chief Sebon Burns said 87% of our community will never utilize the fire department's services.

But Burns said a fire escape plan is essential in every household.

When a house fire happens Burns says it's crucial to know there are two ways out many rooms--through the door and through a window.

Of course if smoke is already billowing you want to stay low and crawl.

Brubaker said about 80% of people know what to do if a home smoke alarm sounds, but only half those people actually put together a house fire escape plan.

He said half of those people actually practice that plan. But having a plan allows a family or individual know the route out. The survey found that 43% of total respondents have a home fire escape plan, but almost half (44%) of them have not practiced their plan.

Then everyone can meet together at a safe meeting place outside the home such as a neighbors mailbox.

Burns said firefighters do not want to come to a house fire and residents not know if someone is inside the fire.

"If you don't have a safe meeting place and that person is actually out of the structure, then we're wasting time by not putting water on the fire because we're trying to do our rescue part," said Burns.

Everyone must know the meeting place, because when the fire department arrives and the homeowners can say everyone is accounted for, firefighters can begin extinguishing the flames faster.

Now Brubaker hopes homeowners will take the proper steps needed to protect their families and their homes.

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