Turn up the heat on safety

We’re heading into winter, time again to remind everyone about fire safety as people light up the stoves and fireplaces.

Seven times each day, someone in the United States dies in a home fire.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, cooking fires account for 47 percent of home fires (20 percent of fire related deaths), followed by heating equipment fires at 15 percent (19 percent of fire related deaths) and electrical fires at 9 percent (18 percent of fire related deaths).

For the past several years, the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign has sought to reduce the number of home fire related deaths and injuries through the installation of free smoke alarms and the dissemination of fire safety information to residents in communities throughout the country.

Thus far, the Red Cross has installed over 1.4 million free smoke alarms and have reached 1.6 million people in nearly 14,000 communities.

The Red Cross urges everyone to take these lifesaving steps:

– Develop a fire escape plan in your household and practice it at least twice per year.

– Install smoke alarms on every level and outside of each sleeping area in your home. Test them monthly and replace the batteries at least once per year. Be sure to replace smoke alarms that are more than eight years old.

– Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what they should do if they hear one.

– Make sure all household members know two ways to escape from every room.

– Establish a family meeting spot outside.

“Home fires — no matter the size — are devastating,” Dan Tobin, American Red Cross Greater Pennsylvania Region director of marketing and communication, told us in a recent press release.

“When a home fire strikes, you have only two minutes to safely escape. Working smoke alarms and home fire escape plans can literally mean the difference between life and death should a home fire occur,” he reminded us all.

More information on home fire safety can be found online at www.redcross.org/gpahomefire.

Please, practice safety.