Virtual fire safety course available through the Red Cross

Published 3:11 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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The American Red Cross responds to aid, on an average 8 families a day, who lose their homes fires every day in North Carolina. This spring, Red Cross volunteers will “Sound the Alarm” by educating 100,000 people nationwide about home fire safety. 

“Home fires remain the most frequent disaster during COVID-19, yet most of us don’t realize we have just two minutes to safely escape,” said Barry Porter, Regional CEO of the Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina. “As families spend more time at home during the pandemic, it’s critical that we help our vulnerable neighbors protect themselves from these everyday disasters.”

The Red Cross is preparing families to act quickly through its year-round Home Fire Campaign and springtime Sound the Alarm efforts. Since the launch of the national Home Fire Campaign in 2014, the Red Cross and our partners have helped save at least 33 lives in North Carolina by helping families create escape plans and installing free smoke alarms. This critical work is made possible with regional partners, who have helped make more than 23,000 households safer statewide in at-risk communities. 

During Sound the Alarm, volunteers will meet virtually with families by appointment to review fire safety for their household and practice their two-minute fire drill. 

Families can request a virtual appointment at by calling 1-833-244-0724 (toll-free).

HOW TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE Help protect your family against home fires by taking two simple steps: Practice your two-minute escape drill and test your smoke alarms monthly. Visit for more information and to pledge to prepare your family against home fires.

  • Create an escape plan with at least two ways to exit every room in your home. Select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home.
    • Practice your escape plan until everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes.
  • Place smoke alarms on each level of your home. Change the batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.
  • Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they likely need to be replaced. 

The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is made possible with generous financial donations from our national partners Delta Air Lines and Lowe’s and North Carolina’s statewide presenting Sound the Alarm sponsor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.