Anchorage, AK, October 8, 2018 — This week is Fire Prevention Week, and the American Red Cross of Alaska reminds everyone to take two simple steps – practice fire drills at home and test smoke alarms monthly – to stay safe from the nation’s most frequent and deadliest disaster.
On average, seven people die every day across the nation from home fires, which take more lives each year than all other natural disasters combined in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. In the last fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) alone, the Red Cross of Alaska responded to over 300 disasters across the state, and the vast majority of those disasters were home fires.
Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. That’s why the Red Cross of Alaska is working with community partners to install free smoke alarms, help families create home fire escape plans, and provide public fire prevention and safety resources through its Home Fire Campaign, a nationwide effort to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries. Since the campaign began in October 2014, it’s reached more than 1.6 million people and is credited with saving 472 lives nationwide. In Alaska, volunteers and community partners have installed more than 5,000 free smoke alarms in homes across the state in the last two years.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
Experts say that today’s home fires burn faster than ever, leaving people with only as little as two minutes to escape a burning residence. But many mistakenly believe they have more time, according to a Red Cross survey last year. During Fire Prevention Week, the Red Cross urges everyone to take these lifesaving steps:
- Develop a fire escape plan with everyone in your household and practice it at least twice a year. Need help with your plan? Use these free Home Fire Campaign resources.
- Install smoke alarms in your home, on every level and outside each sleeping area. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year if required.
- Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what they should do if they hear one.
- Make sure all household members know two ways to escape from every room.
- Establish a family meeting spot outside.
The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. If someone would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.