National Fire Prevention Week: Red Cross offers tips for preventing home fires

The American Red Cross is asking every household in America to take some simple steps that can help prevent home fires and save lives. National Fire Prevention Week, running Oct. 8-14, is a perfect time for everyone to learn what they can do to prevent a fire in their home, and the Red Cross has free resources available to help.

On average, 7 people die and 36 people suffer injuries every day from a home fire in the United States. Fire experts agree that you may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. That’s why having a working smoke alarm on every level of your household is so important. It will help provide the earliest possible warning. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.

Install and test smoke alarms

  • Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms
  • Test smoke alarms once a month
  • Change the batteries at least once a year (if your model requires it)
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years

Households needing assistance obtaining or installing free smoke alarms should contact their local Red Cross chapter and ask about our Sound the Alarm campaign or visit

The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year. Everyone should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a safe place to meet outside the home in case of a fire. Discuss the plan with all household members and practice it until everyone — including children — can escape in less than two minutes. These tips and more are available at


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