When it's time to turn the clock forward for Daylight Savings, the American Red Cross urges Floridians to “turn" and "test” -- make it a habit to test smoke alarm batteries and replace as necessary.
In Central Florida, the Red Cross responds to an average of three disasters a day – 93 percent of which are home fires. In Fiscal Year 2016, that amounted to nearly 1,000 home fire responses in our 19 county region.
In addition to responding to disasters, the Red Cross helps thousands of people each year to be better prepared for emergencies. Safeguard loved ones by taking simple steps to get prepared now, before disaster strikes:
* Install and test smoke alarms. During a fire, early warnings from a working smoke alarm saves lives. Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test alarms routinely and change batteries as necessary.
* Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the household knows how to get out of every room, and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
* Get a kit. Keep disaster supplies in an easy-to-carry bag to use at home or carry in case ordered to evacuate.
* Make a plan. Have all household members plan what steps they should take if an emergency occurs.
* Be informed. Learn what emergencies can occur in the area and how officials notify residents should a disaster occur.
Home Fire Campaign Update. Introduced in October 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is a multi-year nationwide initiative to reduce home fire-related deaths and injuries by 25 percent. As of January 31, the Red Cross and partners have helped to save at least 159 lives. Across the country, volunteers have installed more than 702,000 smoke alarms in nearly 294,000 homes. In addition, a youth emergency preparedness program known as The Pillowcase Project has helped teach more than 707,000 young people about home fire preparedness and seasonal disaster safety.
Get Involved. Your local Red Cross needs volunteers to install smoke alarms and educate families about fire safety. Upcoming smoke alarm installation events are posted HERE. The Red Cross also depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. To make a donation, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.
The Central Florida Region of the American Red Cross serves 19 counties through five chapters: Florida’s Space Coast (Daytona Beach), Greater Orlando, Mid-Florida (Winter Haven), Southwest Florida (Sarasota) and Tampa Bay. For more information, visit redcross.org/centralflorida.
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 or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.