This Fire Prevention Week (October 3-9), the American Red Cross in Greater NY urges you to test your smoke alarms before the threat of home fires increases with cold weather.
The Red Cross responds to 27% more home fires in November-March than in warmer months. According to the National Fire Protection Association — which is sponsoring Fire Prevention Week with the theme, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” — home fires are most common in cooler months when people spend more time inside, and cooking and heating equipment are the leading causes of these crises.
“Every day, people’s lives are devastated by home fires — a threat that’s increasing as winter approaches,” said Mary Barneby, Regional CEO, American Red Cross in Greater NY. “Help keep your family safe now by testing your smoke alarms and practicing your two-minute fire escape drill.”
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY During Fire Prevention Week, test your smoke alarms and practice your two-minute home fire escape drill — the amount of time that experts say you may have to get out before it’s too late. Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like and talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information.
- Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.
- Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they likely need to be replaced because components such batteries can become less reliable. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.
- Include at least two ways to exit every room in your home in your escape plan.
- 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.
- Tailor your escape plan to everyone’s needs in your household. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, install strobe light and bed-shaker alarms to help alert you to a fire. When practicing your plan, include any devices or people that can help you to get out safely.
RED CROSS HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN If you cannot afford to purchase smoke alarms or are physically unable to install one, the Red Cross can help. Visit www.soundthealarm.org/nyc or call 877 RED CROSS (option 5) to learn more about the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign. Since October 2014, the Red Cross has been educating families about fire safety, helping them create escape plans and installing free smoke alarms in high-risk areas. Locally in greater NY, Red Cross volunteers and partners have installed more than 168,000 alarms and helped make more than 61,000 households safer.
RESPONDING TO HOME FIRES Every day across greater NY, the American Red Cross responds to 5 to 25 disasters, providing emergency lodging, food, water, blankets, financial assistance, emotional support, health assistance and more. The Red Cross relies on volunteers to carry out this work and the organization needs more New Yorkers to support this important work. Visit www.redcross.org/volunteertoday to learn more.
RED CROSS SUPPORTERS The American Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its critical mission. Proceeds raised will enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, home fires, and countless other crises.
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