ARC Offers Fire Safety Tips for National Fire Prevention Week
DUBOIS – In light of this year’s National Fire Prevention Week, which will take place Oct. 7-13, the American Red Cross is helping families in the western Pennsylvania region learn how to prevent home fires.
Last year, the Red Cross assisted 892 families afflicted by various disasters in the western Pennsylvania region. On a national level, the Red Cross responds to approximately 63,000 home fires every year by providing food, shelter and emotional support to affected families.
National Fire Prevention Week was officially started in 1925 by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an international non-profit organization that advocates for fire prevention and public safety. National Fire Prevention Week aims to raise awareness of the dangers of fires and the many ways to prevent them. As the winter months approach and more space heaters and fireplaces are being used, the risk of home fires increases, reinforcing the need for widespread knowledge of fire prevention.
“We respond to about one home fire every nine minutes across the country. The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones is to install a smoke alarm and develop and practice a fire escape plan,” said Patricia Waldinger, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross for the western Pennsylvania region. “Fires can spread very quickly, so everyone at home should know what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm.”
This year, the Red Cross provides the following fire safety recommendations that inform families about the best ways to avert home fires.
- Smoke Alarms – Place smoke alarms on every level of the home, including bedrooms. Test smoke alarms once a month by using the test button and replace batteries at least once a year.
- Fire Escape Plan – Develop a fire escape plan with every household member and practice it at least twice a year. Fire escape plans should include at least two ways to escape from every room and a designated spot outside of the home where family members can meet after a fire.
- Safe Heating – Turn off space heaters and extinguish any remaining fire in the fireplace before going to bed or leaving home. When using a space heater, make sure to place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface rather than on a rug or carpet. Keep flammable household items such as paper, clothing, bedding or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves or fireplaces.
- Candles – Never leave burning candles unattended. Place candles where they cannot be knocked over by pets and children, and keep candles at least 12 inches away from any flammable materials.
- Cooking – Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn off the stove when leaving the kitchen, even for a short period of time. When simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food, check it regularly, remain at home while the food is cooking, and use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
- American Red Cross First Aid App – Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.
For additional information on fire prevention, visit www.redcross.org/homefires.