Red Cross lists steps to prevent home fires
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PEORIA -- The biggest disaster
threat to American families isn't floods, hurricanes or tornadoes;
it's fire. The American Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight
minutes, and nearly all are home fires.
The American Red Cross responded to 421 home fires, assisting 1,531
people across central Illinois last year.
Fire is everyone's
fight, and the Red Cross urges people to know what steps they can
take to help prevent fires.
"Home fires are a common and deadly threat because they happen so
quickly," said Glenn Fisher, disaster program manager. "We urge
everyone to become aware of what they should do to prevent a fire in
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are almost
365,000 residential fires reported in the U.S. every year. These
fires cause more than $6 billion in property loss. While the
frequency of fire deaths has steadily decreased over the past 10
years due to increased awareness and safety measures, more than
2,400 Americans still die every year in home fires.
Fortunately, most home fires can be prevented. Homeowners should
check for items that can be hazardous, such as candles and space
heaters -- common items that can turn dangerous very quickly.
To help avoid a fire in the home, there are steps people can take
Keep items that
can catch on fire at least 3 feet away from anything that gets
hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.
Never smoke in
Turn portable heaters off when leaving
the room or going to sleep.
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Smoke alarms save lives
Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside each
sleeping area. Put a smoke alarm inside every bedroom. Because smoke
rises, put the alarms on the ceiling or high on the wall. Test the
smoke alarms regularly. Install new batteries every year. Get new
smoke alarms every 10 years.
Make a plan
The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape
plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives
in the home. People should know two ways to escape from every room
and designate a safe place to meet outside the home in case of a
Other safety steps include:
Follow the escape
plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 911 or the
local emergency number.
alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.
in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by
pushing the test button
Cross First Aid App to get access to lifesaving information
on what to do for common, everyday first-aid emergencies,
including burns. The app is available in the
Apple App Store and on
Google Play for Android.
For more steps to take to lessen the chance of a fire in the
[Text from file received from the
American Red Cross, Central Illinois