Fire Safety: How You Can Help #EndHomeFires

Survey: 2 in 5 People Say Winning the Lottery More Likely than Losing Home in a Fire

New Public Opinion Poll Shows Need for Smoke Alarms & Fire Safety

Red Cross Ramps Up Effort to Install 100,000 Free Alarms in Two Weeks

A new national American Red Cross survey shows that roughly two in five people think it’s more likely that they’ll win the lottery than lose their home in a fire. But the real odds are the opposite: the chance is greater of dying from exposure to fire or smoke (nearly one in 1,500), compared to winning the lottery (typically one in millions).

Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster, tragically taking seven lives each day and injuring many more,” said American Red Cross President & CEO Gail McGovern. “Sadly, home fires can happen anywhere, and to any family, and can be caused by everyday activities like making a home-cooked meal. We are encouraging everyone to please test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan together.”


Almost all people surveyed said they’ve engaged in ordinary activities that are among the leading causes of home fires. For example:

  • More than 70 percent of people said they’ve left the kitchen while cooking on the stove.
  • Nearly three in five adults have walked away from their grill while cooking.
  • Nearly one-third of people left the room or fell asleep while burning candles.

To help prevent home fires, the Red Cross urges everyone to always supervise cooking equipment and candles and follow additional safety tips at

1 IN 10 DIDN’T BUY SMOKE ALARMS DUE TO COST Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. But one in 10 adults reported not purchasing an alarm because of the expense.

What’s more, while most people surveyed (98 percent) said they believe smoke alarms can save lives, nearly half said they’ve disconnected an alarm or taken the batteries out when it went off.

“We want everyone in Tennessee to stay safe from home fires,” said Joel Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer for American Red Cross of Tennessee, “We are committed to this mission, and this survey proves the need for our Home Fire Campaign and our Sound the Alarm home fire safety events that are taking place this spring. The Red Cross and our volunteers will install free smoke alarms and educate families on how they can escape a home fire safely.” The national campaign has reached more than 1.7 million people and saved more than 550 lives.


From April 27 to May 12, the Red Cross is calling for volunteers in Tennessee to help install thousands of free smoke alarms during a two-week push of the campaign’s Sound the Alarm home fire safety events taking place in cities across the state. People can register now at to volunteer and raise donations to support lifesaving services, which are free for families in need.

This work is made possible thanks to generous support from national partners: Airbnb, Delta Air Lines and Nissan North America.


The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross from January 31 to February 3, 2019 using Engine’s Online CARAVAN Omnibus Survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,003 adults, ages 18 or older living in U.S. states. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the U.S. adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education. The margin of error for the total sample of 1,003 adults is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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