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Important to Check Smoke Alarms, Practice Fire Escape Plan

Home Fires
Red Cross responds to hotel, apartment fires

The American Red Cross is helping people after several large fires in Daytona Beach, Florida; Marietta, Georgia; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Lynn, Massachusetts.

In Daytona, 50 people were displaced after fire damaged a long-term hotel. The Red Cross provided shelter for more than 30 residents who needed a place to stay after fire ripped through the Bayview Hotel. In Marietta, more than 40 people were affected after an apartment fire destroyed ten homes. The Red Cross Disaster Action Team responded and is helping those affected relocate.

The fire in Myrtle Beach destroyed more than 100 apartments. The Red Cross opened a shelter and served food and drinks to those affected as well as first responders. More than 75 Cross workers also distributed personal hygiene and cleaning items and provided emotional support. In Lynn, fire destroyed 28 apartments and the Red Cross provided assistance to those affected.

PLAN YOUR ESCAPE Home fires are the biggest disaster threat to people in this country. Every day the Red Cross responds to as many as 170 home fires – that’s one fire every nine minutes. It’s important for people to do all they can to stay safe when fire strikes their residence. One step they should take is to develop a home fire escape plan and practice it at least twice every year. Everyone in the household should know at least two ways out, and be familiar with a meeting spot outside and a safe distance from the home. Other fire safety steps include:

  • Have household members practice escaping from the home, and how to crawl low during a fire.
  • Consider escape ladders for second or third floor sleeping areas and make sure everyone knows how to use them.
  • Teach everyone to stop, drop to the ground and roll if their clothing is on fire, to never open a door that is warm to the touch and to stay outside until a fire official says it is safe to return to the home.
  • If smoke, heat or flames block exit routes, everyone should know to stay in the room with the door closed, place a towel under the door and call the fire department to let them know where they are in the home. Go to the window and signal for help waving a bright-colored cloth or a flashlight. Do not break the window, but open it from the top and bottom.
  • SMOKE ALARMS SAVE LIVES Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms save lives and protect people from injury and loss due to fire. Everyone should make sure there is a smoke alarm on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. You should test smoke alarms every month and replace batteries each year or if the equipment emits a low-battery warning. Other steps people should take regarding smoke alarms are:

  • Teach children what the alarms sounds like and what they should do when they hear it.
  • Keep the alarms clean.
  • Install smoke alarms away from windows, doors or ducts that can interfere with their operation.
  • Replace smoke alarms every ten years.
  • For more information on home fire safety, visit the preparedness section of this web site.

    Tags: Home Fires.
    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.