You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Home Fires Biggest Disaster Threat in U.S.

October is National Fire Prevention Month

The American Red Cross responds to a fire in someone’s home about every nine minutes. Recently, the Red Cross helped six people in Bridgeport, Connecticut, four folks in Findlay, Ohio, 13 people displaced by an apartment fire in Columbia, South Carolina and a family in Greenville, Mississippi who all lost their residences to fire.

Home fires are the biggest disaster threat Americans face. October is National Fire Prevention Month and the Red Cross offers safety steps to follow should a fire occur in your home.

Households should develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home. You should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside the home in case of a fire.

Other safety steps include:

  • Follow the escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • 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.
  • Download the Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.
  • Visit for additional fire safety tips.

    Fire is also the most common disaster to affect businesses and owners and employees should also know what to do should a fire occur. According to the United States 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 Rating™ Program. They can complete a free, online assessment of their current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.

    Tags: Fire.
    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.