This story of hope is from the local chapter of the American Red Cross, one of Mesa United Way’s partner agencies:

Somehow it never fails – a home fire always seems to occur on Christmas day, and this past season it was in Mesa at a mobile home park on Dobson. Three units were affected, impacting 4 families. Of course, the fire fighters were on the scene – and of course the Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteers were there, too. It makes no difference if it is a holiday or not, our volunteers respond, within two hours of notification, and provide immediate emergency assistance for those impacted by disaster.

Unfortunately, this particular home fire is not at all an isolated case. Home fires account for approximately 95% of the local disaster incidents to which we respond. Nationally, nearly 1,000 times a day, fire departments are called to a home fire. Someone dies in a home fire 7 times each day, and a fire-related injury is reported every 45 minutes. More than $7 billion worth of property is destroyed by home fires every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Through the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, the Red Cross and our partners are canvassing communities, providing lifesaving fire prevention/preparedness information and tools. Over the next five years, we aim to visit more than 1.6 million homes to install smoke alarms and replace batteries, complete home safety checklists, and help families develop escape plans, with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of fire deaths and injuries in the U.S. by 25% over five years.

We have regular smoke alarm walks in neighborhoods throughout the east Valley. Our ultimate goal is to prevent all home fires.