Check Your Smoke Alarms, ARC Reminds

Through the Home Fire Campaign, American Red Cross volunteers and community partners carry out a nationwide effort to save lives and reduce fire-related injuries.

With this year's Fire Prevention Week under way, the American Red Cross is reminding the general public to practice fire drills at home and check smoke alarms monthly in order to be safe from the country's most frequent, deadliest disaster. An average of seven people die each day from home fires, which take more lives each year than all other natural disasters combined in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half, ARC noted.

It also noted that experts say today's home fires burn faster than ever, leaving people with as little as two minutes to escape a burning residence. But many mistakenly believe they have more time, according to an ARC survey last year.

During FPW, the Red Cross urges everyone to take these lifesaving steps:

  • Develop a fire escape plan with everyone in your household and practice it at least twice a year. For help with your plan, use the ARC Home Fire Campaign resources.
  • Install smoke alarms in your home, on every level and outside each sleeping area. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year if required.
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what they should do if they hear one.
  • Make sure all household members know two ways to escape from every room.
  • Establish a family meeting spot outside.

Through the Home Fire Campaign, ARC volunteers and community partners carry out a nationwide effort to save lives and reduce fire-related injuries. During the past four years, Red Cross volunteers and more than 4,500 partners have gone door-to-door in high-risk neighborhoods to deliver free preparedness resources through the campaign's Sound the Alarm canvassing events. They have installed 1.4 million free smoke alarms, replaced more than 67,550 smoke alarm batteries, and helped families make more than 514,200 fire escape plans.

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