Press Release

For Immediate Release


Events throughout the Bronx aim to prepare New Yorkers for fires and other emergencies

April 13, 2018 – The New York City Emergency Management Department, FDNY, American Red Cross in Greater New York, Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, and the Bronx Borough President’s Office have partnered to prepare New Yorkers for fires and other emergencies through a series of events and workshops from Friday, April 13th through Sunday, April 15th. Bronx Preparedness Weekend was developed in response to an increased number of fires with injuries and fatalities in the Bronx. New York City experienced 73 civilian fire deaths in 2017. In December alone, there were 26 deaths – the highest number in a single month in decades. The weekend will feature 30 preparedness events at various community, faith, and educational institutions throughout the borough.
“We’re bring the City’s best preparedness resources to the neighborhoods that experienced the most fires in the past year,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “Throughout the weekend, New Yorkers will learn important fire safety and preparedness tips to empower them to stay safe, ready, and resilient in the event of an emergency.”

“Having a working smoke alarm saves live and we can all do our part in reducing fires by practicing smart and simple fire safety measures,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “I urge New Yorkers to join us and learn critical information that can keep you and your family safe.”

“We need to do everything we can to prevent deadly fires and to encourage fire safety in our borough and our city. Through this preparedness weekend we can do just that, and I am proud to join the Fire Department and our partners on this important initiative,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“The Greater New York Red Cross is proud to team up with our New York City partners to help make our communities safer and more prepared.” Said Josh Lockwood, CEO, American Red Cross in Greater New York.
Bronx Preparedness Weekend events will highlight general fire safety and emergency preparedness tips, and New Yorkers will have the opportunity to register for free smoke alarm installation appointments through the American Red Cross.
FDNY’s Fire Safety Rules
  • Never use an extension cord with large current appliances such as appliances that heat or cool (space heater, air conditioner, refrigerator, etc.).  Extension cords can cause home fires by overheating due to overloading the outlet. Plug these appliances right into outlets.
    • When purchasing electrical cords or appliances, be sure that the equipment has the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Mark. The UL mark shows that the product has been safely tested.
  • Space heaters should be kept at least three feet away from anything combustible, turned off and unplugged once you go to sleep.
    • When purchasing an electric space heater, look for heaters with automatic shut-off features that shut off the heater if it is tipped over.
    • The use of kerosene or propane space heaters is strictly prohibited and illegal in NYC.
  • Never smoke while lying down, especially if drowsy, medicated or have been drinking.
    • Completely douse cigarette butts with water before discarding.
    • Smokers are seven times more likely than non-smokers to have a fire in their home.
    • Never permit smoking around the storage or use of an oxygen tank.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended. If you leave the room, make sure to blow out the candle.
    • Place candles at least 4 feet away from curtains, draperies, decorations, blinds and bedding.
    • Candles should always be placed out of reach of children and don’t allow teens to have candles in their bedrooms.
    • In case of an emergency, do not use flame candles to light your home.
  • Stay in the kitchen while cooking and wear short or tight fitted sleeves.
    • Stand by your pan.
    • Keep a safe area around the stove for children of at least 3 feet.
    • Don’t use water to extinguish a pan fire. Water will cause splashing and spread the fire. Instead, have a pot lid and/or baking soda handy to smother a pan fire. If there is a fire, shut off the stove and cover the pan. If using baking soda, shut off the stove and pour baking soda over the fire.
  • Store matches and lighters out of reach and sight of children.
    • Provide close, continuous supervision of children.
    • Toddler fire deaths are most often due to children playing with matches or stoves.
  • Installing and maintaining smoke/CO alarms will reduce your chances of dying in a fire by 50%. Install at least one Smoke/CO combo alarm on every floor and at least one smoke only alarm in every bedroom for extra protection.
    • 70% of fire deaths occur in homes with a non-functioning smoke alarm or no smoke alarm present.
    • The majority of fire deaths are children and older adults.
    • If your alarm still uses removable batteries, be sure to change them twice a year. A great reminder is changing batteries on days clocks are changed for daylight saving time.
    • All new and replacement smoke alarms should have a sealed 10-year battery that is non-replaceable and non-removable.
    • Test your alarms regularly by pressing the test button.
  • Plan and practice a fire escape plan. Do not attempt to fight the fire yourself. Get out and CLOSE THE DOOR! Call 911 from a safe location.
    • Teach everyone in your home how to unlock and open windows, doors and all security devices.
    • Agree on a meeting place outside your home.
  • Know if you live in a Fireproof or Non-Fireproof building. They type of building you live in affects how you should plan for and escape a fire. Check with the NYC Department of Buildings if you are unsure if your building is Fireproof or Non-Fireproof.
    • If you live in a non-fireproof building and there is a fire in your building, it is usually safer to leave immediately.
    • If you live in a fireproof building and the fire is NOT in your apartment, it is usually safer to stay inside your apartment rather than entering dangerous, smoke-filled hallways.

NYC Emergency Management’s Preparedness Tips

  • Make an emergency plan with your family to prepare for what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate in an emergency.
    • Ask at least two people to be in your emergency support network — family members, friends, neighbors, caregivers, coworkers, or members of community groups. Pick an out-of-area friend or relative who family or friends can call during a disaster.
    • Decide where your household members will reunite after a disaster. Identify two places to meet: one near your home and another outside your immediate neighborhood. Practice using all possible exit routes from your home and neighborhood.
  • Everyone in your household should have a Go Bag — a collection of things you would want if you have to leave in a hurry.  Your Go Bag should include:
    • Bottled water and nonperishable food, such as granola bars
    • Copies of your important documents in a waterproof and portable container
    • Cash (in small bills)
    • Flashlight, hand-crank or battery-operated AM/FM radio, and extra batteries
    • A list of the medications each member of your household takes, why they take them, and their dosages.
    • Back-up medical equipment (e.g., glasses, batteries) and chargers
    • Supplies for your service animal or pet (e.g., food, extra water, bowl, leash, cleaning items, vaccination records and medications)
    • Contact information for your household and members of your support network
    • Stay informed about emergency events by signing up for Notify NYC, the City’s free emergency communications program. Download the free mobile application, visit, call 311, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.
American Red Cross “Sound the Alarm” program

In New York City, American Red Cross partners with the FDNY, the FDNY Foundation, and the City of New York to help provide fire safety education and install free smoke alarms in area homes. During local “Sound the Alarm” installation events, Red Cross volunteers and partners install free smoke alarms and help families create escape plans.

  • New Yorkers can sign up to have a free smoke alarm or join as a volunteer by calling 877-REDCROSS (877-733-2767) or visiting
  • If you live in a NYCHA building and need a smoke alarm, please call 718-707-7771.


MEDIA CONTACT: Nancy Silvestri/Tashawn Brown (718) 422-4888

STAY CONNECTED: Twitter: @NotifyNYC (emergency notifications); @nycoem (emergency preparedness info); Facebook: /NYCemergencymanagement