Every 85 seconds a home fire breaks out, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Fires can cause irreparable damage to homes and businesses displacing families and employees. Last year, the American Red Cross responded to 63,000 home fires across the country and provided comfort and basic necessities to 83,000 families. “The largest percentage of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or alarms that don’t work,” said Nick Jost, Emergency Response Director of the American Red Cross. “Smoke alarms can provide a few minutes of advance warning in the event of a home fire, and that extra time can save lives.”
People who do not have smoke alarms in their home should have them installed, and those with smoke alarms should make sure they have been properly maintained and updated.
During November, the American Red Cross is partnering with community firefighters to provide Battery Up, a free program offering in-home fire prevention to elderly, disabled and low-income residents.
Community firefighters and local Red Cross volunteers will visit residents of Marion, Lamont, Earlville, and Solon to change smoke alarm batteries and identify fire safety hazards in the home. Residents wishing to receive the in-home visit must make an appointment for one of the following days:
Register for Battery Up! by calling 319-393-3500 ext. 230. Additional locations/dates may be announced.
Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, as well as inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas of the home. People should test their smoke alarms once a month by pushing the test button, and replace alarm batteries at least once a year. Other smoke alarm safety recommendations include:
Follow your escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for additional fire safety tips.
Business, too, should be prepared. Fire is the most common of all business disasters. 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 at www.readyrating.org. Complete a free, online assessment of your current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.