Red Cross Urges Residents to Take Steps to Prevent Fires
If a fire starts in your home, early detection can mean the difference between life and death. Because of the risk fires pose, the American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter urges families to take the time to take steps during the Daylight Savings weekend to prevent fires.
“The Red Cross encourages people to change the batteries in each smoke alarm at least two times per year,” said Carol Dunn, a community disaster educator for the American Red Cross. “To make it easier to remember, make the change when you change your clocks during Daylight Savings Time. It is helpful to have smoke alarms on each floor of your home can alert your family members to the danger of fire and smoke.”
More than 90 percent of homes in the United States have smoke alarms, but one-third are estimated to have worn-out or missing batteries. Dead, missing or disconnected batteries are the main cause of non-working smoke alarms. They should be tested once a month, and when the alarm chirps, it means the battery is low.
Another important step to getting out of a house fire safely is to have an escape plan and practice it according to the Red Cross. Each room should have at least two escape routes. Multi-story homes need escape ladders in the bedrooms.
“It is critically important that parents not only tell their children what to do, but to practice a fire drill perhaps even at night,” adds Dunn. “Walk their children through the steps to ensure that they remember what to do in an emergency. The Red Cross can not stress enough how important it is to have a family escape plan.”
Because younger children often sleep through smoke alarms, decide who will wake the children for fire drills and emergencies. Keep whistles near each bed, so that family members especially children can use them to alert firefighters to their location inside the home should they become trapped.
An emergency evacuation plan should also include:
‚Ä¢ An evacuation route from each room of your home.
‚Ä¢ A safe place to meet outside after escaping from a fire.
‚Ä¢ Time to practice these family “fire drills” three or four times per year.
The American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. For more information, visit www.rainier-redcross.org.