Right now the American Red Cross is helping someone recovering from a fire. Across our Northern Minnesota Region, we respond more than 400 fires each year. (And more than 63,000 across the nation annually.) That does not account for home fires that not requiring Red Cross assistance. In September, we experienced one of the busiest fire response months that Red Cross disaster volunteers have seen in quite a while. There were 48 responses region-wide, including a 12-unit apartment fire in Brainerd where all 12 families needed assistance. To date, October has been no-less busy with 14 incidents. Combined, we’ve assisted 329 people with emergency relief after a fire.
So, we feel compelled to ask: are you prepared for a fire? Are you ready to not return for hours, days, or maybe never to the home you have now? Take a moment to answer those questions. Then what?
The Red Cross recommends two easy steps to help protect your home and loved ones from a fire: get a smoke alarm and create a fire escape plan.
- Smoke alarms save lives. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.*
- Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including bedrooms.
- Test smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year.
- Fires can spread quickly and every second counts. Having a plan in place can help you escape, but less than one-fourth of Americans have actually made a plan and practiced it.*
- Home fire plans should include at least two ways to escape from every room of your home.
- Select a meeting spot at a safe distance from your home where family members can meet after a fire.
- Discuss the plan with everyone in the household and practice it at least twice a year.
- For more information visit http://www.redcross.org/homefires.
- Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.
* Statistics provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).