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Posted: Oct 7, 2011  06:27

Get Your Family Red Cross Ready during National Fire Prevention Month


Megan Snow
Regional Director of Communications

American Red Cross
Inland Northwest Chapter
315 W. Nora Ave.
Spokane, WA 99205
509.321.6058 | office

October 7, 2011

Install Smoke Alarms and Create a Fire Escape Plan

Every 82 seconds a home fire breaks out, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Fires can cause irreparable damage to homes and businesses displacing families and employees. Last year, the American Red Cross responded to 40,000 home fires across the country and provided comfort and basic necessities to those affected. This October 9-15 the Red Cross is helping families and businesses learn how to protect themselves and others from fires in observance of National Fire Prevention Week.

"Taking simple steps like installing smoke detectors and developing and practicing a fire escape plan can make a critical difference in saving lives, homes and workplaces," said Jenny Carkner, Regional Emergency Services Director, who recommends that every family and business develop and practice a fire safety plan. "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. Visit for additional fire safety tips.

Business, too, should be prepared. Fire is the most common of all business disasters. 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 Complete a free, online assessment of your 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. The Inland Northwest Chapter responded to 168 home fires last year, an average of once every two days, including the apartment complex fire on the lower south hill yesterday which displaced 14 people including 4 children.

"In order to continue responding to disasters like fires at homes and businesses here in our region, the Red Cross depends on the generous support of individuals and businesses in the community," added Carkner. Secure online donations can be made at

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization - not a government agency - and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at


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