American Red Cross Offers Safety Tips During National Fire Prevention Week

October 11, 2011 Updated Oct 11, 2011 at 10:54 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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American Red Cross Offers Safety Tips During National Fire Prevention Week

October 11, 2011 Updated Oct 11, 2011 at 10:54 AM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Every 82 seconds a home fire breaks out, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Fires can cause irreparable damage to homes and businesses displacing families and employees.

The American Red Cross responds to approximately 63,000 home fires on average every year, providing comfort and basic necessities to those affected. This October 9-15, the Red Cross is helping families and businesses learn how to protect themselves and others from fires in observance of National Fire Prevention Week.

“Taking simple steps like installing smoke detectors and developing and practicing a fire escape plan can make a critical difference in saving lives, homes and workplaces,” said Kenneth Turner, Sr. Director of Emergency Services, who recommends that every family and business develop and practice a fire safety plan. “Everyone at home, school and work should know what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm.”

Additional recommendations include:

• Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.

• Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.

• Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year.
Follow your escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

Business, too, should be prepared. Fire is the most common of all business disasters. Companies, schools and other organizations can learn how to prepare for fires and other emergencies by becoming a member of the Red Cross Ready Rating Program at www.readyrating.org. Complete a free, online assessment of your current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.

In addition to helping families and businesses prepare their homes and facilities for potential fires, the Red Cross is there to help those in need when fires break out. The American Red Cross, Serving Erie & Niagara counties responded to over 360 home fires last year, providing assistance to nearly 1,000 people. This past Labor Day, our Disaster Action Team were called to six separate fires in a 24 hour period, providing food, clothing, shelter and support to 40 people who were forced from their homes.