Houston house fire

The Red Cross even installs smoke alarms in households for free. Valley residents who would like to set up an appointment to have free smoke alarms installed in their homes can call the Wasilla office at 907-357-6060.

WASILLA — National Fire Prevention Week started Sunday and goes to Oct. 12. Being prepared for a household fire can mean the difference between life and death.

The American Red Cross advocates for fire preparedness year-round, but this week serves as a reminder to the public to make sure their homes are protected.

When it comes down to it, two of the most effective and simple steps to be prepared are to practice the household’s fire escape plan regularly and test smoke alarms monthly.

The American Red Cross works year-round to help communities across the U.S. be more fire-wise and the Valley is no exception. They hold numerous preparedness demonstrations across the Valley, at schools, after school programs and other groups.

“In the last fiscal year (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) alone, the Red Cross of Alaska responded to over 435 disasters across the state, and the vast majority of those disasters were home fires,” stated in a recent press release.

The Red Cross even installs smoke alarms in households for free. Valley residents who would like to set up an appointment to have free smoke alarms installed in their homes can call the Wasilla office at 907-357-6060.

For more information and free home fire safety resources, visit redcross.org/homefires or download the free Red Cross Emergency App.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

Go-to tips for household fire prevention provided by the Red Cross:

• Include at least two ways to get out of each room in your home fire escape plan.

• Select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone can meet.

• Practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in two minutes or less.

• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, placing them inside and outside bedrooms, and sleeping areas.

• Test smoke alarms monthly, and change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.

The Red Cross started their national Home Fire Campaign five years ago to save lives across the country.

According to the press release, the campaign has saved at least 642 lives around the U.S. over the last five years. Below are the national statistics:

• Installed nearly 2 million free smoke alarms

• Reached over 1.4 million children through youth preparedness programs

• Made more than 793,000 households safer from the threat of home fires

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