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SALT LAKE CITY — In 2014, the leading cause of disaster in Utah was house fires, and a similar high rate of house fires across the country has prompted a nationwide campaign to promote fire safety.
Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, Utah Red Cross volunteers responded to help 668 Utahns, with 232 households displaced by fire, according to a Red Cross news release. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes, and the majority are house fires.
“While tornadoes, floods and hurricanes tend to dominate the headlines, people often underestimate the frequency and devastation caused by home fires, and that’s where the Red Cross comes in,” said Heidi Ruster, Utah Red Cross region CEO. “Our work doesn’t end after the smoke clears. Every day, local dedicated volunteers are helping people recover and get better prepared.”
Due to the large number of house fires in the U.S., the Red Cross launched a campaign in October to help reduce the number of home fire deaths by 25 percent over the next five years, the news release said. The Red Cross has asked each household to check its existing smoke alarms and to practice fire drills at home.
Since October, the Red Cross and local fire departments have installed more than 17,000 smoke alarms in homes across the U.S.