Red Cross and Portland Fire & Rescue Share Tips to Help Prevent Home Fires; Install Smoke Alarms to Save Lives

Red Cross
and Portland Fire & Rescue Share Tips to Help Prevent Home Fires
A home fire is the single greatest disaster threat to American families – more
of a threat than floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes. In Oregon and
Southwest Washington, the local Red Cross helps an average of three families affected
by disasters every day, most of which are home fires. The Red Cross and urges
people to know what steps they can take to help prevent home fires.
  • Install smoke alarms on
    every level of the home and outside each sleeping area, placing them on the
    ceiling or high on the wall.
  • Put a smoke alarm inside
    every bedroom.
  • Test the smoke alarms regularly.
  • Get new smoke alarms every
    ten years.
  • Keep items that can catch
    on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as heaters or stoves.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Turn portable heaters off
    when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Check
    holiday light strings to make sure they are in good condition. Don’t use
    anything with frayed electrical cords.
  • Use
    battery operated flashlights or lanterns instead of candles during a power
    outage. Do not leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Never
    leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short
    period of time, turn off the stove.

You may only have two minutes to
escape when a fire occurs, but most people mistakenly believe they have more
than twice as long to get out. The Red Cross recommends that households develop
a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who
lives in the home. People should know two ways to escape from every room and
designate a safe place to meet outside the home in case of a fire. Discuss the
plan with everyone in the household and practice until every member of your
household – including children – can escape in less than two minutes