This Fire Prevention Week (October 3-9), the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region urges you to test your smoke alarms before the threat of home fires increases with cold weather.
The Red Cross responds to 27% more home fires in November-March than in warmer months. According to the National Fire Protection Association — which is sponsoring Fire Prevention Week with the theme, "Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety" — home fires are most common in cooler months when people spend more time inside, and cooking and heating equipment are the leading causes of these crises.
"Every day, people's lives are devastated by home fires — a threat that's increasing as winter approaches," said Thomas Hill, Regional Disaster Officer for the Red Cross Los Angeles. "Help keep your family safe by testing your smoke alarms and practicing your two-minute fire escape drill."
Since the beginning of 2021, Red Cross volunteers have responded to 265 home fires in Los Angeles, providing more than 1,600 residents support and guidance through their disaster recovery journey. Home fires account for 90% of all disaster responses.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY During Fire Prevention Week, test your smoke alarms and practice your two-minute home fire escape drill — the amount of time that experts say you may have to get out before it's too late. Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like and talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency.
Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.
Check the manufacturer's date of your smoke alarms. If they're 10 years or older, they likely need to be replaced because components such batteries can become less reliable. Follow your alarm's manufacturer instructions.
Include at least two ways to exit every room in your home in your escape plan.
Select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor's home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone knows to meet.
Tailor your escape plan to everyone's needs in your household. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, install strobe light and bed-shaker alarms to help alert you to a fire. When practicing your plan, include any devices or people that can help you to get out safely.
If you cannot afford to purchase smoke alarms or are physically unable to install one, the Red Cross may be able to help. Contact Red Cross LA for help. Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, smoke alarm installations are limited to where they're safe to do so.
HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION:
Make a financial donation to your local Red Cross to help people affected by home fires and other disasters in the United States and around the world. Visit redcross.org/donate.
Visit redcross.org/fire for home fire safety information, including an escape plan to practice with your family.
Become a Red Cross volunteer by applying at redcross.org/volunteer.
Download the Red Cross Emergency App by visiting redcross.org/apps or texting 'GETEMERGENCY' to 90999. This all-inclusive app combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe. And the Monster Guard mobile app is specially designed for kids, teaching them to prepare for emergencies at home by playing an engaging game.
Families in our community and across the country turn to the Red Cross every day to help #EndHomeFires. Hospital patients still need lifesaving blood; neighbors still need food, shelter and care after disasters; and military families still need support. Your help is needed to fulfill the urgent needs of our mission today at redcross.org/la.