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Cornelius News

Fire Prevention Week: Test smoke alarms, practice escape plan

Oct. 5.  – National Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, and the American Red Cross of the Greater Carolinas Region urges residents to test their smoke alarms and practice their escape plan as home fires continue during COVID-19.

Since February, the Greater Carolinas Region has responded to more than 730 home fires in the region to help more than 2,630 people with urgent needs like emergency lodging, financial assistance and recovery planning. 

The nation’s most frequent disaster, home fires are most often caused by cooking, according to the National Fire Protection Association, which is sponsoring Fire Prevention Week with the theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!”

Red Cross survey: Most of us are underprepared

Fires claim seven lives a day in the U.S., but a new 2020 national Red Cross survey shows most of us aren’t taking the steps to protect ourselves.

Testing your smoke alarms each month helps ensure that they’re working — which can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Still, 65% of us don’t.

Practicing your escape plan twice a year also increases the odds of survival. But 70% of us don’t.

Escaping in less than two minutes can be the difference between survival and tragedy, according to fire experts. Yet more than half of us think we have more time.


How to protect your family

 During Fire Prevention Week, test your smoke alarms and practice your escape plan until everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information or download the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores). 


* Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.

* 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 need to be replaced because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

* Practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes.

* Include at least two ways to exit every room in your home.

* 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.

* Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like. Talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency.

 To become a volunteer, go to www.redcross.org/volunteer.