By WECT Staff | October 2, 2020 at 4:37 PM EDT – Updated October 2 at 4:37 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) – The American Red Cross urges everyone to test their smoke alarms and practice their escape plan during National Fire Prevention Week which runs from October 4 – 10.
National Fire Prevention Week focuses on safety at home, specifically these three key elements:
- Testing smoke alarms each month
- Practicing escape plans twice a year
- Escaping in less than two minutes
Home fires claim seven lives each day in the U.S. and most people are unprepared.
“Home fires haven’t stopped during COVID-19, and neither has the need to prevent fire tragedies,” said Sam Rodgers, disaster program officer at Red Cross Eastern North Carolina. “During Fire Prevention Week, test your smoke alarms and practice your escape plan to help protect you and your loved ones.”
Most often, home fires are caused by cooking, according to the National Fire Protection Association. It recommends never leaving cooking food unattended.
A national survey conducted on behalf of the American Red Cross in January 2020 found 70% of people have left the kitchen while cooking.
Smoke alarms should be installed on each level of a home, both inside and outside bedrooms. Batteries should be changed at least once a year and smoke alarms need to be replaced every ten years because the sensors become less sensitive over time.
Escape plans should include at least two ways to exit every room in the home and should designate a specific meeting point outside the home. Parents should teach children what the alarm sounds like and should practice the escape plan with them.
Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death in a home fire by half and practicing an escape plan significantly increases the odds of survival. Escaping in less than two minutes can be the difference between life and death.
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