FORT MYERS — As home fires continue to surge throughout the South Florida Region, the Red Cross urges residents to test their smoke alarms and practice their escape plan ensuring families are prepared in case of an emergency.
In 2020, the South Florida Red Cross responded to more than 631 home fires and helped more than 3,138 people with urgent needs like emergency lodging, financial assistance, and recovery planning, and it hasn’t slowed down in the start of 2021.
“Trained volunteers are responding to an increase in home fires and we want to be sure that the community is taking steps to prepare their homes and stay safe,” said Jill Palmer, executive director of the Florida Gulf Coast to Heartland Chapter. “We encourage everyone to test your smoke alarms to ensure that they are working and to develop and practice an emergency escape plan. When a fire starts you have less than 2-minutes to escape, these simple steps can help protect you and your loved ones.”
TAKE STEPS NOW TO PREPARE Home fires take seven lives each day in the U.S., most often in homes without working smoke alarms. The Red Cross urges individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones by taking steps to prepare and respond in the event of a home fire.
Test your smoke alarms monthly.
•Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
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.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Every eight minutes, someone affected by a disaster is helped by donations to the Red Cross. The generosity of Red Cross donors helps provide people with necessities like shelter, food, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance.
To help the Red Cross continue to deliver its lifesaving mission, visit redcross.org, or call 1-800 Red Cross.