When turning your clocks back this Sunday, test your smoke alarms to help protect your family from home fires — which continue to be the nation’s most frequent disaster during the coronavirus pandemic.
Since February, the Red Cross has helped more than 144,000 people affected by some 33,000 home fires across the country. They include Kyle Ramon, who escaped an early morning apartment fire with his family upon hearing a smoke alarm and his neighbors moving about hurriedly. For Kyle and other displaced families, Red Cross volunteers provided lodging at a local hotel, food, emotional support and recovery planning assistance.
Now, several months later, Kyle and his family are in a new home, getting back on their feet. “Without having that support… I don’t know where I would be,” he said.
HOW TO ‘TURN AND TEST’ Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. This weekend, test your smoke alarms, replace the batteries if needed and follow these steps to help protect your family:
- Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. That’s because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time. Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms and follow the instructions.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
- Practice your two-minute escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late. Include at least two ways to get out of every room and 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 can meet.
Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download our free Emergency App (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).