This October 9-15 the American Red Cross is helping families and businesses learn how to protect themselves and others from fires in observance of National Fire Prevention Week.
Every 82 seconds a home fire breaks out, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Fires can cause irreparable damage to homes and businesses displacing families and employees. Last year, the Red Cross responded to 63,000 home fires across the country and provided comfort and basic necessities to those affected.
“Taking simple steps like installing smoke detectors and developing and practicing a fire escape plan can make a critical difference in saving lives, homes and workplaces,” said Scott R. Salemme, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross, Columbia Region. “The Red Cross recommends that every family and business develop and practice a fire safety plan. Everyone at home, school and work should know what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm.”
Additional recommendations include:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.
- Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
- Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year.
Follow your escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for additional fire safety tips.
Businesses, too, should be prepared. Fire is the most common of all business disasters. Companies, schools and other organizations can learn how to prepare for fires and other emergencies by becoming a member of the Red Cross Ready Rating™ Program at www.readyrating.org. Complete a free, online assessment of your current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.
More information on home fire safety is available on www.redcross.org. People can help those affected by home fires and other emergencies by making a financial donation to The American Red Cross, P.O. Box 91, Columbia, SC, 29202. Donations can also be made by visiting www.redcross.org or calling (803) 540-1242.