As we get ready to ring in the New Year, many of us make resolutions to change something in our lives. As you think about your resolutions for 2020, consider resolving to keep you and your loved ones safe from home fires year-round.
Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster — sadly, taking an average of seven lives every day in the U.S. But you can help prevent tragedies by taking two simple steps: practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can escape in two minutes or less, and test your smoke alarms monthly.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, placing them inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it. Smoke alarms typically need to be replaced every 10 years. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model.
- Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one. Talk to children regularly about fire safety and teach them not to be afraid of firefighters.
- Create and practice a home fire escape plan until everyone in your household can escape in two minutes or less — at least twice a year. Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home.
- 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 knows to meet.
Additional information and free resources are at redcross.org/homefires.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN For roughly five years, the Red Cross has been working to reduce home fire deaths and injuries through its Home Fire Campaign. Through the campaign, Red Cross volunteers and community partners go door-to-door in high-risk neighborhoods to install smoke alarms and educate families about home fire safety.
So far, the campaign has saved as many as 682 lives and reached more than 2.2 million people across the country by:
- Installing more than 2 million free smoke alarms.
- Reaching more than 1.5 million children through youth preparedness programs.
- Making more than 838,000 households safer from the threat of home fires.