Red Cross responds to fire every 9 minutes

This Oct. 7-13 the American Red Cross is helping families and businesses learn how to protect themselves and others from fires in observance of National Fire Prevention Week.

Last year the Red Cross responded to about 63,000 home fires across the country by providing comfort and basic necessities to more than 82,000 families.

“We respond to about one home fire every nine minutes across the country. The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones is to install a smoke alarm and develop and practice a fire escape plan,” said Steve Hansen, chapter cxecutive. “Fires can spread very quickly, so everyone at home, school and work should know what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm.”

Additional recommendations include:

Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.

Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.

Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year.

Follow your escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

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.

Visit www.redcross.org/homefiresfor

additional fire safety tips.

Businesses also should be prepared. Fire is the most common of all business disasters. According to the U. S. Fire Association, non-residential building fires resulted in $2.4 billion in losses in 2010. Companies, schools and other organizations can learn how to prepare for fires and other emergencies by becoming a member of the Red Cross Ready Rating ™ Program at www.readyrating.org.Complete a free, online assessment of the current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.

In addition to helping families and businesses prepare their homes and facilities for potential fires, the Red Cross is there to help those in need when fires break out. They work with the family to provide a shoulder to lean on, help them with a recovery plan and provide immediate basic needs such as providing a safe place to sleep, food to eat, infant supplies, replace medications, etc.

Throughout October, the Red Cross is collaborating on several local projects including delivering fire prevention door hangers in Campbellsport, Oakfield and North Fond du Lac on Oct. 27. This is conjunction with the fire departments and the Gannett newspaper Make a Difference Day project. The Red Cross also will be at the Kimberly Clark Employee Safety Fair on Oct. 18. More events also are in the planning stages.

“In order to continue responding to disasters like fires at homes and businesses here and throughout the greater Fox Valley and Michigan border communities, the Red Cross depends on the generous support of individuals and businesses in the community,” Hansen said. “To support our ongoing prevention and responses, we ask people to make a financial gift to the Red Cross. We make it easy as you can call 800-RED-CROSS, go to redcross.orgor text redcross to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Northeast Wisconsin Chapter serves 20 counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters. To learn more about local Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact the chapter headquarters at (920) 231-3590 or visit www.RedCross.org/newisconsin.Find it on facebook.com/newredcross,twitter.com/newredcross,the local blog is newredcrossblog.organd chapter photos are at flickr.com/photos/newredcross.