The Rock River Chapter urges Rock River Valley residents to take a few simple steps to prevent home fires and help prepare their home and family in case a fire happens. Nationally, the number of homes fires the American Red Cross responds to is up 10 percent since the year 2000. Alarmingly, only 26 percent of families have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan, according to a May 2006 poll conducted by ORC International for the Red Cross.
“Last year the Rock River Chapter assisted 1,311 individuals as they rebuilt their lives after a fire,” said David Pattengale, Director of Emergency Services. “Preparing for a home fire doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or training, and Fire Prevention and Safety Week is a great time to get started.”
“In addition to smoke alarms, one of the easiest ways you can prepare is to develop and practice a home fire escape plan so that every family member can escape quickly and safely,” continued Pattengale. “We suggest that a home fire escape plan include at least two escape routes for every room in the home, and a convenient meeting place at a safe distance from a fire.”
The American Red Cross offers the following recommendations regarding home fire prevention and safety:
- Keep anything that can catch on fire away from your stove top, oven or any appliance that generates heat.
- Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves or fireplaces.
- Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
- Never leave cooking food unattended, and avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
- Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside of sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms once a month by pushing the test button and change batteries once a year.
- Make sure everyone in your family knows at least two ways to escape from every room of your home.
- Practice your fire escape plan at least twice a year. Designate a meeting spot outside and a safe distance from your home. Make sure all family members know the meeting spot.
The Red Cross depends on the generous support of Rock River Valley residents to respond to our neighbors who are affected by home fires. You can help the Red Cross continue to help fire victims by making a financial donation to the Rock River Chapter today.
For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information visit www.redcross.org/homefires or call: (815) 963-8471.