Red Cross offers home fire preparedness tips during National Fire Prevention Week

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

Red Cross offers age-appropriate preparedness materials include engaging activities and easy action steps that youth will find both fun and effective. You can also find Prepare with Pedro educational videos on our YouTube page.

Volunteer to help those affected by home fires

Join your local Red Cross to help families prepare for, respond to, and recover from home fires. Preparedness volunteers educate community members on home fire prevention, Disaster Action Team volunteers assist families after a home fire and Recovery Caseworkers connect individuals to local resources.

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.

Since October 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign with community partners has saved at least 1,048 — including 14 in Central California — by educating families about fire safety, helping them create escape plans and installing free smoke alarms in high-risk areas. Locally in the Central California Region, Red Cross volunteers and partners have installed 25,325 alarms and helped make 9,833 households safer. To learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved, visit redcross.org/HomeFires.

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