It’s National Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross of Utah and Nevada encourages people to create a fire escape plan so everyone in the household knows what to do if a fire occurs. The theme is “Don’t Wait, Communicate.”
“Large-scale disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes and floods always make the news, but the most common disaster threat people face across the country is a fire in their home,” said Rich Woodruff, communications director for the Red Cross. “Here in Utah we respond to a house fire every two to three days. In Nevada it is every 19 hours. We urge residents to develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone in their household. Working smoke alarms are also critically important as they cut the risk of dying in a house fire by 50 percent.”
Steps for people to create a fire escape plan include: walking through the home and looking at all exits and possible escape routes, including windows; listing two ways to get out of every room in case fire blocks one of the paths; picking a place to meet outside, a safe distance away from the home; conducting drills and practicing until every member of the household, including children, can escape the home in less than two minutes; making sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1; and eaching everyone to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
People should also install smoke alarms on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. They should test the alarms monthly, install new batteries at least once a year or according to the alarm manufacturer’s instructions, and replace alarms every 10 years.
The Red Cross Emergency App contains information on how to prevent home fires and what to do if one occurs. Children can learn about fire prevention and safety through gaming with the Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App. Designed for 7 to 11-year-olds, the app teaches them safety tips for a variety of disasters by having them role-play as different monster characters. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps. Additional fire safety tips and resources are available at redcross.org/homefires.
The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, now in its second year, aims to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires in the United States by as much as 25 percent over a five-year span. People can become a Red Cross volunteer at redcross.org/volunteer or help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.