MIAMI — This Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 3-9), the American Red Cross South Florida Region urges you to test your smoke alarms before the threat of home fires increases with cooler weather.
The Red Cross responds to 27% more home fires in November through March than in warmer months. According to the National Fire Protection Association — which is sponsoring Fire Prevention Week with the theme, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” — home fires are most common in cooler months when people spend more time inside, and cooking and heating equipment are the leading causes of these crises.
“Every day, people’s lives are devastated by home fires — a threat that’s increasing as winter approaches,” said Josett Valdez, Regional CEO of the Red Cross South Florida Region. “Help keep your family safe now by testing your smoke alarms and practicing your two-minute fire escape drill.”
How to protect your family: During Fire Prevention Week, test your smoke alarms and practice your two-minute home fire escape drill — the amount of time that experts say you may have to get out before it’s too late. Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like and talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information.
• Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they likely need to be replaced because components such batteries can become less reliable. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.
• Include at least two ways to exit every room in your home in your escape plan.
• 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.
• Tailor your escape plan to everyone’s needs in your household. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, install strobe light and bed-shaker alarms to help alert you to a fire. When practicing your plan, include any devices or people that can help you to get out safely.