Fire Prevention Week: Test smoke alarms now before cold weather hits

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Permian Basin (Nexstar)- This Fire Prevention Week, the American Red Cross is urging the community to test smoke alarms before the cold weather hits. According to the Red Cross, colder weather brings an increase in home fires. 

Each year, from November to March, the Red Cross responds to 27% more home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association — which is sponsoring Fire Prevention Week with the theme, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” — home fires are most common in cooler months when people spend more time inside. Cooking and heating equipment are the leading causes of these fires. 

“Home fires upend lives every day, causing heartbreak and destroying everything that makes four walls into a home,” said Jennifer Pipa, vice president, Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services. “As the threat gets worse with the onset of colder temperatures, help keep your family safe by testing your smoke alarms and practicing your two-minute fire escape drill.”


During Fire Prevention Week, test your smoke alarms and practice your two-minute home fire escape drill — the amount of time that experts say you may have to get out before it’s too late. Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like and talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency. 

Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.

Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they likely need to be replaced because components can become less reliable. 

Have a plan: Include at least two ways to exit every room in your home in your escape plan. Select a meeting spot a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone knows to meet. Tailor your escape plan to everyone’s needs in your household. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, install strobe light and bed-shaker alarms to help alert you to a fire. 

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