Friday, October 7, 2011 —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. Last year, the American Red Cross responded to 63,000 home fires across the country and provided 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 Eva Coffey, Red Cross manager, Chapter Emergency Operations- North GA, 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. Visit http://www.redcross.org/homefires for additional fire safety tips.
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 http://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 Atlanta Red Cross responded to 688 home fires last year.
“In order to continue responding to disasters like fires at homes and businesses here in metro Atlanta, the Red Cross depends on the generous support of individuals and businesses in the community,” added Coffey.” Those who want to help people affected can make a donation to support the American Red Cross. Their gift will enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other disaster assistance in time of need. Donation information can be found at http://www.atlantaredcross.org, by call the chapter at: 404-876-3302 or by mail to the Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter, 1955 Monroe Dr, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324
About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit http://www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.