As the New Year approaches, it’s a time when people traditionally create resolutions to make a meaningful difference in their lives. When creating yours, please consider resolving to prepare for home fires to keep you and your loved ones safe year-round.
Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster—sadly, taking an average of seven lives every day. But you can prevent these tragedies by taking two simple steps: create and practice a fire escape plan, and install and maintain smoke alarms in your home.
Below are some tips that you and your family can use for your New Year’s resolutions. Additional free resources are also at redcross.org/homefires.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
1. Install the right number of smoke alarms in your home. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.
2. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one. Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
3. Have a conversation about fire safety with everyone in your household. Create and practice a home fire escape plan together. Make sure they all know what to do if a fire occurs.
4. Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know where the family meeting spot is outside of your home.
5. Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
6. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire Drill“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
7. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
8. Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN Since October 2014, 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 reached more than 1.7 million people and saved at least 486 lives across the country by:
- Installing more than 1.5 million free smoke alarms.
- Reaching more than 1.2 million children through youth preparedness programs.
- Making more than 638,000 households safer from the threat of home fires.