In observance of National Fire Prevention Week Oct. 7 to 13, the American Red Cross is helping families and businesses learn how to protect themselves and others from fire danger.
The American Red Cross of Alaska responded to 199 home fires last year. Nationwide the Red Cross responded to about 63,000 home fires — about one every nine minutes — and provided comfort and basic necessities to more than 82,000 families.
Interim Red Cross of Alaska CEO Paton Stott said smoke alarms and fire escape plans are two things people can do to help get themselves and their loved ones out of a house fire alive.
“Fires can spread very quickly, so everyone at home, school and work should know what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm,” Stott said.
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. Use the button on the alarm to test it monthly.
• 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 911 or the local emergency number.
• Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information.
Visit redcross.org/homefires for additional fire safety tips.
Business, too, should be prepared. Fire is the most common of all business disasters. According to the United State Fire Association, non-residential building fires resulted in $2.4 billion in losses in 2010.
Companies, schools and other organizations can learn how to prepare for fires and other emergencies by becoming a member of the Red Cross Ready RatingTM Program at readyrating.org. Complete a free, online assessment of your current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.
For more information, visit redcross.org.