As part of National Fire Prevention Month, Ryan Gorman sat down with Ivanette Bonilla, Global Communications leader of Kidde Fire Safety and Captain Michael Kozo of the FDNY foundation. The group discussed the increased risk of home fires in 2023, how you can create an escape plan and the ways Kidde is working with the community to give back to those in need through the Cause For Alarm campaign. The full transcript of their conversation is below.
All right, it's Ryan Gorman, here on iHeartRadio communities. And now let's bring in our next guest for firesafety Prevention Week, I'm joined by Ivanette Bonilla, Director of Communications for Kidde. And I'm also joined by Captain Michael Kozo from the FDNY Foundation. And thank you both so much for coming on the show. Ivanette let me start with you. This is now the second year for Kidde’s Cause for Alarm program. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what the focus is this year,
Thanks for having us, As a leader in home fire safety Kidde really understands. And we've seen with data that safety isn't the same for everyone, or communities. Some communities are just more vulnerable than others, to home fire tragedies, whether it's elderly or kids and other communities like the black community that are nearly twice as likely to be impacted by home fire deaths versus others. So we know that at the same time with the right fire safety education, and the appropriate safety devices, like for example, smoke alarms, these fires fatalities can be prevented. And that's why this is so important for us to help raise awareness and share important resources on home safety. And this is the reason why we launched cause for alarm because we want to be able to close that fire safety gap and keep all community safe in their homes. So it's really important for us and we're really excited. This is our second year of Cause for alarm, we help provide families with support. And that includes educational resources and tools that they can use to make sure that they're prepared and that they help avoid those risks of things that we do it or homes that that we don't even realize could be fire hazards. Also to learn about product solutions, and the things that they need to have in their homes, like smoke alarms, or carbon monoxide alarms, or even fire extinguishers, escape ladders, things like that, to help ensure that everyone feels protected. And also just prepared speaking, you know, to families about what how to prepare to avoid and when the alarm goes off what to do right at the same time. So we really want to invite everyone to rally behind the cause. Because we feel that together, we can help keep more people safe. And people can learn more about the campaign at our website causeforalarm.org. And there's a lot of great resources there for for everyone. Again, the website is causeforalarm.org
I did not know that children were at greater risk from fires. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
I know it's pretty shocking when you when you see the statistics.
And as I mentioned everyone, no matter who you are, how old you are, you know you should feel safe and protected at home but in the US the reality is that at least one child dies every day in a house fire. pretty staggering statistic there. And when you look at the data from the NFPA, or the National Fire Protection Association
Do you see that three out of five home fire deaths take place in homes with no working smoke alarms. And we know at the same time that having working smoke alarms in your home, can actually double the chances of escaping a home fire safely. So really important to help keep your family safe, but also help keep our firefighters safe, right? If you have the right fire safety equipment in your home, that also alerts you so that you can get out of the house. House fast? And so, you know, when we think of children, in particular, Ryan, you were asking about, you know, they're more vulnerable, we take a look at preparedness, right? Fire Safety is really all centered around being prepared, whether it's education or the tools, and devices. So when, well, children are very likely to be prepared in the event of a fire at school, for example, kids actually practice upto 156 fire drills, on average, during their school experience. But the reality is, they're less likely to know what to do if the smoke alarm goes off at home where the risk is actually higher. In fact, in the US, there's only 26% of American families that have developed in practice a home fire escape plan. So you can see there's a bit of a gap there in terms of how well kids are prepared fires in schools versus homes, where the risk is substantially higher. So it's really important that children know how to recognize fire dangers and know what to do when they hear a smoke alarm at home, which the reality is, you know, they need to get out fast right out of the home and not tie because we know that there's been tragedies where children hide whether it’s because they're scared, or because they feel they're going to get in trouble. So it's really important for parents and families to have those conversations so that when the time comes, hopefully it never comes right but we never know. They know what to do and children can react, you know, and the families can be safe.
I'm Ryan Gorman, joined now for fire safety prevention week by Ivanette Bonilla Director of Communications for Kidde. You can learn more about their program at causeforalarm.org. And I'm also joined by Captain Michael Kozo. From the FDNY foundation, you can learn more about that organization at FDNYfoundation.org. So, Captain Kozo. How does all of this impact our firefighters?
Yeah, thanks for having me, Ryan. Um, just a brief explanation on how it affects the firefighters. Just so you know, today's fires burn a lot hotter and faster than they have ever in the past. When a family lacks a working smoke alarm, or a home fire escape plan, not only does that impact the family, itself, but it also puts the firefighters that even greater risks, according to UL, today are on average, about 56% larger than home was built in 1970, which is significantly larger when you think about it. And these buildings are built with synthetic materials making up much of today's furnishings. These synthetic materials burn extremely fast, faster and hotter than traditional materials, such as cotton, wool or linen.
Also, the modern open floorplan that you see today in our in our homes, provides a lot more oxygen to fuel the fire and doesn't provide any barriers to flame. Right? Because it's just wide open, wide open area in the home.
When you think about it, 30 years ago, once a fire started, your average escape time was 17 minutes. Now it's less than two minutes. Wow, what a tremendous, tremendous difference, right?
And again, firefighters are having we have to rush into these rapidly burning homes to rescue people, which is again putting us at risk as well, as well as the people that are in there. But again, our time to get in there and get people out is drastically reduced to these materials.
Now that is just a stunning statistic again, 30 years ago, once a fire started the average escape time, 17 minutes now less than two minutes. What are the most important considerations for families thinking about fire safety in their home,
Learning the basics of fire safety and being prepared is definitely the first step in fighting a fire. And it just so happens to be the most important as well. Right? So I'm gonna list a few safety tips that Kidde and the FDNY recommend. We do recommend that you create and regularly practice and escape plan with your family. When you're doing that. You want to remember the two the law of the twos. Know two ways out of every room. You want to practice two times a year. Practice at two different times during the day and at night. This way, you're really, you know, challenging yourself. You know, easier maybe a little easier during the day you want to do it at night, people are sleeping, maybe wake everybody up. You know, in a calm environment, you don't have to get everybody panicked and chaotic. But you just want everybody to be into that mode and to practice the muscle memory of what they're going to do, if the alarm does go off, when you hear the smoke alarm, you want to get out of the house immediately. Remember, beeps that last, you want to get out fast, right. And that's one of the things that we go with, we want to make sure that you're checking your batteries and you replace your smoke alarm every 10 years, you want to place your fire extinguishers within reach on every level of your home. And you want to make sure that you install carbon monoxide alarms on each floor and near bedrooms, you should have at least one combo alarm on every level of your home and a smoke alarm in every bedroom. So you definitely want to make sure that you are well prepared and that you're covered with these alarms in case anything goes go. Don't go on your home while you're sleeping or anything else that these alarms are going to be your first sign that something is going wrong. And it's going to alert everybody to get up and enact that safety plan.
And Ivanette that let me turn back to you for a moment. One final question. How can people get involved and participate this October?
This October and everyday to be honest. Kidde actually created as a part of the cause for alarm campaign, a jingle that also comes with a video on YouTube. And it really is intended to help families remember what to do, how to prepare and what to do in the event that the smoke alarm does go off. So in terms of having people get involved in the campaign, there's three easy ways that people can get involved. now through November and like I said, from then on as well from an education standpoint. So first is hearing the jingle that that last get out fast, share that in social media using the hashtag cause for alarm and help us spread awareness of the importance of fire safety. That's one thing. The second one is purchasing a kiddo alarm from September through November of this year 2023. at participating retailers. That purchase will trigger $1 contribution from Cause for alarm donations to families in need up to a retail value of $1 million. So by you getting alarms for your home, you can actually help others that might not have the financial means to get alarms for their family. So that's the second way you can help. And the third one is learning. Learning about fire safety, learning about this mission to provide our families with the necessary educational resources and product solutions needed to have a safe and healthy home. And you can do that by visiting the causeforalarm.org website again, causeforalarm.org There's a lot of tools, resources, you'll see the jingle there, you can find out more information of where to purchase your Kidde alarms to trigger the donation. So again, three easy ways to hear the jingle, purchase the alarm at participating retailers to trigger a donation to communities in need. And then third, learning more about fire safety and leveraging all the great work we have on our website. causeforalarm.org
Ivanette Bonilla, Director of Communications for Kidde, you can learn more about the work they're doing for fire safety prevention week at cause for alarm.org and Captain Michael Kozo. From the FDNY foundation, you can find out more about that organization and support their work at FDNY foundation.org. Thank you both so much for taking a few minutes to come on the show. And Captain Kozo. Thank you so much for your service to your community.