It’s Fire Prevention Week: Test smoke alarms, practice escape plan


DAYTON – National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 4-10, and the American Red Cross urges everyone to test their smoke alarms and practice their escape plan to reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by half.

Since February, the Red Cross has responded to more than 29,000 home fires across the country to help more than 128,000 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!”

Home fires claim seven lives a day in the U.S., yet, a new 2020 national Red Cross survey showed most people aren’t taking the steps to protect themselves.

• Testing 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 people don’t.

• Practicing an escape plan twice a year also increases the odds of survival. But 70% of people 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 people think they have more time.

During Fire Prevention Week, test smoke alarms and practice an escape plan until everyone in the 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 the home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.

• Change the batteries at least once a year, if the model requires it.

• Check the manufacturer’s date of the 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 an escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes.

• Include at least two ways to exit every room in the home.

• Select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as a neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in the 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.