October is Fire Prevention Month. The Red Cross issued a press release to let people know that the biggest disaster threat to American families isn’t floods or tornadoes, it's fire—in particular, fires in homes.
The American Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes and nearly all of these are home fires; the Greater St. Louis Region responded to more than 1,300 fires last year.
“Home fires are a common and deadly threat because they happen so quickly,” said Cindy Erickson, Regional Chief CEO. “We urge everyone to become aware of what they should do to prevent a fire in their home.”
Even with increased awareness and safety measures, more than 2,400 Americans die each year in fires in their homes, but this can be prevented.
Homeowners should check for items that can be hazardous such as candles and space heaters – common items that can turn dangerous very quickly. Also:
- Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
- Make, practice and follow an escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms, high up on the wall.
- Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
Visit www.redcross.org for more steps to lessen the chance of a fire in the home.