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Mayor de Blasio, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, Fire Commissioner Nigro, Council Member Deutsch, City Council and NY Red Cross CEO Josh Lockwood Announce Launch of Home Fire Safety Program #GetAlarmedNYC

November 2, 2015

100,000 smoke/co alarms to be installed free for New Yorkers
in public-private partnership with FDNY foundation, American Red Cross and Kidde

Largest smoke detector giveaway and installation program in U.S.
New Yorkers can call 311 for more info

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, Council Member Chaim Deutsch, Council Member Jumaane Williams, Fire and Criminal Justice Chair Council Member Elizabeth Crowley and NY Red Cross CEO Josh Lockwood today announced the launch of a new fire safety program, #GetAlarmedNYC, the largest smoke detector giveaway and installation program in the nation.

The $4 million fire and life safety initiative will provide free installation of 100,000 photoelectric combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms to tens of thousands of city residents, targeting communities in all five boroughs that pose the greatest risks from fire, according to FDNY statistics and analysis. 

The #GetAlarmedNYC initiative was spurred by the tragic deaths of seven children last March – all from the same family – in a fire in Council Member Chaim Deutsch’s district in Midwood, Brooklyn.

“While the city has dramatically reduced the number of fire deaths we see annually, the fact is people – especially the very young and old – continue to die in fires. We’re launching this program because we know it will save lives,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This is an extraordinary partnership between the Mayor’s Office, the FDNY, the entire City Council and our non-profit friends at the American Red Cross and FDNY Foundation, along with businesses who are devoted to making a difference in the safety of New Yorkers.”

“The message cannot be simpler: smoke alarms save lives,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “While fire deaths are at historic lows, the FDNY is committed – more than ever – to do everything we can to protect New Yorkers, and that begins by making certain our residents have the first line of protection against fire and deadly carbon monoxide gas.”
“The unspeakable tragedy last March where seven young children died in a fire in Brooklyn was a wake- up call for everyone in our city: fire safety education must be a priority. An evacuation plan, a working smoke alarm, and awareness of fire safety techniques are essential tools in protecting your family,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “My colleagues in the Council have been working hard to get this message out and will continue through this initiative to help protect the people in every community in our city. I commend the Mayor, Commissioner Nigro , Council Member Deutsch and all our partners in this vitally important initiative for their efforts to keep New Yorkers safe.”

“Thousands of NYC residents turn to the Red Cross for emergency relief following home fires every year. As a result we know all too well the devastating impact that these disasters can have on our communities,” said Josh Lockwood, Regional CEO of the Greater NY Red Cross. “The Red Cross is thrilled to partner with the City and the FDNY to help save more lives and make our city safer.”

Funding for this program is provided by the City Council and the non-profit FDNY Foundation, while fire safety product manufacturer Kidde will contribute smoke alarms. The American Red Cross will be providing organizational support and volunteers who will work with fire safety educators from the FDNY Foundation and install the alarms in private homes and apartments, and provide fire prevention education information.

Late last year the American Red Cross  embarked on a nationwide safety program to reduce fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years by recruiting, training and dispatching volunteers to install the alarms in private homes and apartments. The Red Cross will also provide other critical organizational support to help reach this goal as well as vital fire prevention education information. The free installation program will be available to communities throughout New York City, and will prioritize installations in neighborhoods that statistically pose greater risks for fires, injuries and deaths.

The initiative will span two years, with hundreds of alarms installed each week by volunteers from the American Red Cross. New York City residents can obtain more information about the program beginning today by calling 311. The FDNY and Red Cross will host community events in all five boroughs where city residents can schedule installations in their homes.

The smoke/carbon monoxide alarms that will be installed are sealed devices that do not require new batteries and are designed to last for up to 10 years.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that nationally, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half when there’s a working smoke alarm present. In New York City, the FDNY’s Bureau of Fire Investigations has determined that 70 percent of fire deaths in recent years have occurred in residences where there was no working smoke alarm – either with no alarm present, or missing or dead batteries in a device.
“Our mission is to fund the critical, life-saving work of the FDNY, with our support of fire and life safety education programs being paramount,” said FDNY Foundation Chairman Stephen Ruzow. “This major new program reinforces our commitment to help save lives and assist those in our city who face the greatest risk from fires.”

“Kidde is dedicated to providing solutions to help protect people and property from fire and its related hazards. We have a long history of partnering with the FDNY through programs like ABC7’s Operation Safe a Life and of supporting the FDNY Foundation. Kidde is proud to be donating alarms as a part of this life-saving initiative,” said Jim Ward, President of Kidde.

“Brooklyn has more fires than any other borough in this city, including an alarming number in my district. There have been several tragic incidents within the past few months that could have been avoided if their homes were properly equipped with smoke detectors, so I am proud that this Administration is partnering with the FDNY to launch a vast fire safety program, which will undoubtedly save countless lives,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader and Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings.

“Last March, my district suffered a terrible tragedy, when a house fire claimed the lives of seven young brothers and sisters,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “This truly alarming incident prompted renewed interest in fire safety and preparedness throughout my district and the entire city. We have learned that, in addition to having a fire evacuation plan in place, smoke detectors are critical in alerting residents to smoke conditions – that can save lives. For these reasons, I have partnered with the New York Fire Department and the American Red Cross to hold multiple smoke detector giveaways and fire safety trainings in the coming months, to continue raising awareness. This joint initiative, with Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito, is another opportunity to distribute these life-saving devices throughout the city. Proper deployment of smoke detectors can give a resident the advance warning they need to evacuate before a situation becomes life-threatening. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, and FDNY Commissioner Nigro for their continued commitment to the safety and protection of our residents.”

“To lose someone because their home did not have something as essential as a smoke alarm is unacceptable to this Council,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “We moved as quickly as possible to fund this fire safety program and prevent any more fatalities in our city. I thank the FDNY Foundation for their partnership and all the NY Red Cross volunteers who will train and implement this life saving program.”

"One life lost to a fire fatality is one too many. Although our City has made great strides in the reduction of fire related fatalities there is still so much more we can do and by providing New Yorkers with the latest technology in smoke alarms. Photoelectric alarms, provided through #GetAlarmedNYC, will give New Yorkers the greatest chance of surviving a fire," said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, Chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee.

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