FedEx NFL Air & Ground program and the American Red Cross “Drive to Prepare”
Zip code 85301 in Glendale, AZ, home of Landmark Elementary School, has the highest incidence of home fires in Arizona. While natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes make national headlines, the reality is that home fires cause more fatalities annually than other disasters combined, with someone in the U.S. dying in a home fire seven times a day.1
Like the other 2,000 Phoenix-area children participating in NFL Kids Day at the NFL Experience Engineered by GMC, the joyful smiles of the sixty-five children from Landmark Elementary lit up the Phoenix Convention Center. As part of their Kids’ Day experience on January 28, local children participated in interactive fitness activities, speed and mobility drills, quarterback challenge games, and extra point kicking stations.
In addition, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell joined FedEx team member volunteers, local first responders, and American Red Cross representatives for an education program about disaster preparedness and fire safety with the students from Landmark Elementary. The activity within the FedEx Air & Ground display at NFL Experience was designed to teach critical fire safety skills such as “Get Low & Go.” As a nominee for the FedEx Air & Ground Players of the Year award, Bell also shared how the FedEx Air & Ground NFL program, which has donated $130,000 to the American Red Cross during the 2014-15 NFL Season, does more than just recognize outstanding athleticism – it also supports critical community needs.
While the venue was a fun one, and meeting NFL star Le’Veon Bell a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the children, the message that Le’Veon, along with FedEx and the American Red Cross, had to share was a serious one: it’s never too early to learn how to prepare for and respond to home fire emergencies.
As Scott Somers, American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council member, shared with the students during the event, on average, the Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States—and the vast majority are home fires. Smoke alarms cut the risk of death from a fire in half. FedEx support of the American Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, through the FedEx Air & Ground NFL program, is helping to enable the American Red Cross to go door-to-door to distribute, install and test smoke alarms in neighborhoods across the country for free.
Scott Keyes, American Red Cross Community Preparedness & Resilience manager for the Arizona, New Mexico, and El Paso Region, stated that from his experience the most important thing that parents can do with their children is to make a fire evacuation plan and practice it. Families who have a fire safety plan and who practice it are more likely to fall back on that plan, even when panic sets in during an actual emergency. This advice is common sense but not common practice. He also reiterated the importance of having a working smoke detector in saving lives. During one recent Phoenix-area assessment he participated in, none of the homes assessed by American Red Cross had a working smoke alarm.
For almost 20 years, FedEx has worked hand-in-hand with the American Red Cross to help in disaster preparedness and relief. In 2014 alone, FedEx contributed more than $1.8 million in cash and in-kind donations to the American Red Cross and its chapters to support its work helping communities and families prepare, respond, and recover from disasters. FedEx is also proud to support the work of the local chapter of the American Red Cross, the Greater Phoenix Chapter, with a $10,000 grant to continue the important work they are doing with the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign locally.
1. National Fire Protection Association, 2014