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American Red Cross Issues Steps to Help Prevent Home Fires

American Red Cross Issues Steps to Help Prevent Home Fires
Now more than ever, it is important for Granite Staters to take steps to prepare their home and families to prevent home fires.

A fire in the home is the biggest disaster threat to American families, more of a risk than floods, hurricanes or tornadoes. The American Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes and nearly all of these are home fires.

“A home fire can happen to anyone at any time,” said Maria Devlin, CEO of American Red Cross New Hampshire. “Now more than ever, it is important for Granite Staters to take steps to prepare their home and families to prevent home fires.”

During Fiscal Year 2014, American Red Cross New Hampshire Region responded to 214 disasters, primarily house fires which affected 635 individuals. Since July 1st, the Red Cross has responded to 20 home fires and have assisted 81 individuals. The Red Cross urges people to know what steps they can take to help prevent fires.

Fortunately, most home fires can be prevented. Homeowners should avoid using items that can be hazardous such as candles and space heaters – common items that can turn dangerous very quickly.

To help avoid a fire in the home, there are steps someone can take now:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area, placing them on the ceiling or high on the wall.
  • Put a smoke alarm inside every bedroom.
  • Test the smoke alarms regularly. Install new batteries every year.
  • Get new smoke alarms every ten years.
  • Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • MAKE A PLAN You may only have two minutes to escape when a fire occurs, but most people mistakenly believe they have more than twice as long to get out. The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home. People should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a safe place to meet outside the home in case of a fire. Discuss the plan with everyone in the household and practice until every member of your household – including children – can escape in less than two minutes

    People can also download the Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies including burns. The app has a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting redcross.org/apps.

    NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross has launched a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. As part of the campaign the Red Cross is joining fire departments and community groups nationwide to install smoke alarms in communities with high numbers of fires. The Red Cross also is asking every household in America to take the two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.

    You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

    For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit redcross.org/homefires.

    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 redcross.org/nh or visit us on Twitter at @NHRedCross.