By Chris Chmura, American Red Cross volunteer
Next week is National Fire Prevention Week and the American Red Cross wants to ensure everyone is prepared should they experience a home fire. So far in 2021, Ohio has had 95 home fire fatalities vs. 67 in 2020.
We lost four on-duty firefighters in 2021 and the year is not over. These heroes were willing to give up their lives to help save lives of fellow Ohioans.
Could your family escape in 2 minutes in case of a home fire?
A survey conducted for the Red Cross, shows that people mistakenly believe they have more time than they really do to escape a burning home. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape before it’s too late to get out. But most Americans (62%) mistakenly believe they have at least five minutes to escape, more than twice the amount they have. Nearly 18% mistakenly believe they have ten minutes or more to get out.
The American Red Cross urges everyone prepare by practicing their home fire escape plan and testing their smoke alarms.
1. Practice a 2-Minute Fire Drill
Use our worksheet to draw your home’s floor plan and plot your escape routes.
- Practice your 2-minute drill (from home to a safe meeting place) at least twice a year.
- Everyone in your household should know two ways to escape from each room in your home.
- In a real fire, remember to get out, stay out and call 911. Never go back inside for people, pets or things.
2. Test Your Smoke Alarms Monthly
Test your smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button.
- You should hear three beeps, letting you know the alarm is working.
- Don’t hear the beeps? Then it’s time to change the batteries if your model requires them.
- If your smoke alarm is 10 years old, it’s time to get a new alarm because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time.
Teach kids about preparedness
Our age-appropriate preparedness materials include engaging activities and easy action steps that youth will find both fun and effective.
Volunteer to help those affected by home fires
Join your local Red Cross to help families prepare for, respond to, and recover from home fire. The need for volunteers continues amidst a busy disaster season. Disaster action team members from the Red Cross Northern Ohio Region responded to nine local events over the weekend, all of them home fires. Several individuals were affected, including 30 adults and 7 children. The Red Cross provided more than $10,400 in immediate assistance.
Make a donation
Your financial gift allows the Red Cross to provide food, comfort and aid to those who have lost their home to fire. It also helps us install free smoke alarms and educate families on fire safety.
Be prepared before disaster strikes
Be prepared for disasters and other emergencies with a well-stocked emergency kit for your home, workplace and automobile. Choose from a variety of survival kits and emergency preparedness supplies to help you plan ahead for tornadoes, flooding, fire and other disasters.