Home fires are common here in Southern Nevada and across the US. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) home fires result in 2,470 civilian fire deaths, 12,890 civilian fire injuries and $6.9 billion in direct damage, each year. A fire can occur in the home at any time and for a variety of reasons. That’s why early detection is critical to getting your family out safe. Functioning smoke detectors are the best way you can be alerted to a fire and get out fast.
Working Smoke Detectors Save Lives
Many households don’t have smoke detectors installed at all. And of the homes that do have smoke detectors, many aren’t functioning properly. The U.S Fire Administration and the NFPA state:
- Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.
- More than one-third (37 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.
- The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
How You Can Prepare For a Home Fire
On November 1st we set our clocks back for daylight savings time. A large percentage of home fires occur in the fall and winter months making this is a perfect time to ensure your smoke detectors are installed and are working properly.
Smoke detectors should be installed on every floor and outside every bedroom and sleeping area in the family home. To test if your detector is functioning effectively, press the test button for a few seconds. If you hear the beep you know it’s working. Make sure to re-test your detector once per month and replace the batteries every six months. Smoke detectors themselves should be replaced every ten years.
Having a Plan Before a Fire Starts
Smoke detectors function as a crucial first alert. However it’s equally important to have a specific plan for getting out and getting safe before you have a fire. Make sure your plan has at least two ways to escape from every room of your home and select a central location – a safe distance from your house – where your family members can meet up after a fire. Having a well-defined plan and practicing it twice per year can ensure you’re well prepared when a fire starts.
The American Red Cross, along with its partners, have launched the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign initiative, with a goal for reducing deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25% in five years. As part of this campaign the Red Cross is asking that every home in America commit to both installing and checking smoke detectors, and to practicing fire drills at home.
Be sure to go to American Red Cross – Prevent Home Fires for more safety tips. In Southern Nevada you can also call our local office at (702) 791-3311, and visit our website at www.redcross.org/local/nv/las-vegas.