This is my home, my community.

IMG_6901Today I had the opportunity to take a walk down memory lane; part of the pre-canvassing for a fire prevention event in the neighborhood where I lived for the first ten years of my life. I can tell you the names of the kids who lived next door, point out the tree I climbed, and show you the route I walked to school every day. I can tell you about the time it snowed so deep my mom had to pull my sisters and I on a sled to the grocery store. This is my childhood home, right here in the community where I serve. FullSizeRender

As part of the National American Red Cross efforts to reduce the number of fire related deaths and injuries due to home fires, our local Red Cross team was tasked to look at the zip codes in our 40 county service area that are considered high fire risk. These are neighborhoods that show statistically to be ones where the most fire related deaths and injuries have occurred in the past 5 years. And would you believe, my childhood home sits right in one of those neighborhoods. The 65802 zip code in Springfield, Missouri is the number one zip code, ranking the highest in home fire related deaths and injuries, in the Southern Missouri Region territory.

IMG_6900When I walked through the streets of my old neighborhood today I thought about the families who live there now. I looked at my childhood home and realized, while the home where I grew up was still standing there are many that are not that fortunate. Did you know, a home fire takes a life seven times every day in the United States?

A recent survey, conducted for the Red Cross, shows that many of us have a false sense of security when it comes to surviving a fire in our home. As part of the mission of the Red Cross to save lives, we plan to help turn that into a REAL sense of security. Starting here, in my community. Most people read a survey and think, wow…someone should do something about that. I challenge you to be that someone. Think about your community. Do you know what the fire risk is where you live? Take the challenge. The life you save could be your own when you start with just these two things:

1. Make sure you test your smoke alarms.

2. Practice fire drills at home.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States and the vast majority of those are home fires. In southern Missouri the Red Cross responded to more than 700 home fires last year. You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross July 17-20, 2014 using ORC International’s Online CARAVAN omnibus survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,130 American adults, including 311 parents of children aged 3-17. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the US adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education.  The margin of error for the total sample of 1,130 adults is +/- 2.92 percent. The margin of error for the sample of 311 parents is +/- 5.56 percent.



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