BERKELEY TOWNSHIP-Last Tuesday, Berkeley Township Mayor Carmen Amato and Councilwoman Sophia Attanasio Papa Gingrich joined Rosie Taravella, CEO of the American Red Cross New Jersey Region and many other volunteers to assist in the American Red Cross’ “Sound the Alarm” initiative. The purpose of the event was to check and if needed, install new smoke alarms in homes in the Carefree section of Berkeley Township.
Mayor Amato thanked the 62 volunteers and community partners like Holiday City Carefree HOA, Manitou Park Fire Department and Organization’s and business who donated funds and who came out to canvass the community and install smoke alarms.
Amato said the program was a success and he hopes to have the Red Cross come back to town again in the future.
“I installed several smoke alarms while the Red Cross educated residents about #fire-safety and home fire escape plans all week. We will be working with the American Red Cross to have them back again for other areas of town,” Amato said.
“Home fires kill more people in an average year than every other domestic natural disaster combined. To combat these tragedies, in 2014, the American Red Cross launched the multi-year Home Fire Campaign in New Jersey and across the country to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires,” CEO Taravella said. “We are making a difference. Since the launch, the Home Fire Campaign is credited with helping save more than 580 lives across the country – 18 of those lives saved were right here in New Jersey.”
So far, in New Jersey, the Red Cross has held Sound the Alarm events in Newark, last weekend in Millville, and here in Berkeley Township through Friday, installing thousands of free smoke alarms and making New Jersey families safer.
“Every day, 7 people die from home fires. Home fires kill more people in America than all-natural disasters combined and these life-threatening events don’t affect everyone equally,” Amato said. “Children under the age of five are almost one-and-a-half times more likely to die in a home fire when compared to older youth. Adults over the age of 65 are two times more likely to die in a home fire than the average American. Thirty-six people suffer injuries because of home fires every day and more than seven billion dollars in property damage occurs every year.”
Amato said those numbers were why he and the Berkeley Township council got involved in the program.
“Everyone can get involved with the Home Fire Campaign. We encourage every household to take TWO SIMPLE STEPS to increase your chances of surviving a home fire: test your smoke alarms and practice your family fire escape plan,” he added. “Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries if needed.”
Amato said when a fire starts in a home, occupants may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home.
“Make sure everyone in your household knows the fire escape plan and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes,” he said.
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