Red Cross kicks off house fire safety campaign

By Stephanie Carson
Public News Service-NC

RALEIGH — More than 2,300 people died and nearly 13,000 were injured in home fires across the nation in 2012, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Stephanie Carson | Public News Service - NC In addition to checking the batteries in your smoke detectors, the American Red Cross recommends going over your home escape plan in the event of a fire.

Stephanie Carson | Public News Service – NC
In addition to checking the batteries in your smoke detectors, the American Red Cross recommends going over your home escape plan in the event of a fire.

This month the American Red Cross is kicking off a national campaign to reduce deaths and injuries from house fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.

Installing smoke detectors and changing their batteries is an important part of fire safety, but Anne Marie Borrego, a Red Cross spokeswoman, says a family’s escape plan is just as important.

“I would say if there’s one thing that you can do today, it’s to go home and really practice that escape plan,” she advises. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to sit down and talk with your family and actually see how long it’s going to take you to get out of your home.”

A recent Red Cross survey found that people believe they have more time than they do to escape a burning home.

Fire experts estimate people have as little as two minutes to escape, while 62 percent of respondents believe they have at least five minutes.

According to the survey, nearly seven in 10 parents believed their children knew what to do if their house caught on fire, but less than one in five families with children has practiced home fire drills and less than half of them talk with their children about fire safety.

Borrego says fire safety is a conversation worth having with your children.

“My advice would be to do it in a very matter-of-fact manner,” she stresses. “It’s important to talk with them about the need to prepare just in case and to reassure them that mom and dad are doing this just so everyone stays safe. ”

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms installed inside of every bedroom and on every level of your home.

Filed in: Latest Headlines, News, Public safety

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