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American Red Cross fire safety tips

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A home fire can strike anywhere, anytime. Fires not only destroy homes and personal belongings, but they also cause serious injury and death. On a personal level, home fires are catastrophic. Across the country, home fires account for most of the nearly 66,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to every year. Trained volunteers respond immediately to provide meals, shelter and support to those affected by fires. The Red Cross’s goal is to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries in the US by 25% by 2020.

Launched in 2014, the Home Fire campaign has already accomplished a lot. The numbers prove it:

  • 215,283 households made safer
  • 581,665 youth reached through campaign
  • 111 lives saved (verified through media reports)
  • 499,803 smoke alarms installed

The Red Cross is asking every household in America to join us in taking two simple steps that can save lives:

  1. Practice your 2-minute drill. Make sure your family can safely escape a home fire in under 2 minutes. Use our worksheets to plan and prepare your 2-minute drill today.
  2. Test your smoke alarms monthly. Make sure you and your family are alerted as soon as a fire is detected. If the smoke alarm isn’t working, change the batteries.

Here are more ways to cut down on fire hazards:

  • Cooking Safety: “Keep an eye on what you fry.” Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or using an open flame. Fireplaces, Space Heaters, Baseboards, etc. “3 feet from the heat.” Furniture, curtains, dish towels and anything that could catch fire are at least 3 feet from any type of heat source.
  • Smoking Safety: Never smoke in bed.
  • Electrical and Appliance Safety: Large and small appliances are plugged directly into wall outlets.
  • Children Playing: Matches and lighters are locked away.
  • Smoke Alarms: Make sure you have working smoke alarms. Different types of smoke alarms, ionization and photoelectric, detect fire in different ways. Experts recommend having both types in your home. Change smoke alarm batteries every year unless it has a long-life battery. Replace smoke alarms every ten years.

Tips for creating your home fire escape plan and practicing your 2-minute drill:

  • Everyone in your household should know two ways to escape from each room in your home. Remember that your escape route could mean going through a window.
  • Decide where to meet once you get outside.
  • If a fire starts, you may have just two minutes to get to safety. So time your fire drills and find out: what’s your escape time?
  • Smoke is dangerous. Practice low crawling.
  • Teach household members what to do if their clothes catch fire: stop, drop and roll.

Let’s reduce house fires by 25% together.

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