By the American Red Cross of Western New York
Daylight saving time begins this Sunday, March 13, and the American Red Cross of Western New York reminds everyone to turn your clocks forward one hour and test your smoke alarms.
Did you know working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half? That’s why it’s critical to “turn and test” and take these lifesaving steps to stay safe from home fires – the nation’s most frequent disaster:
√ Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.
√ Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. That’s because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time. Check the date of your smoke alarms and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
√ Practice your two-minute escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes – the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late. Include at least two ways to get out from every room, and select a meeting spot at 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 where to meet.
√ Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like. Talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency.
“As many as seven people die in this country every day from a home fire, but smoke alarms cut your risk in half,” said Ken Turner, chief regional disaster program officer, American Red Cross of WNY. “Protect your household this weekend. Turn your clocks forward and test your smoke alarms.”
Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download our free emergency app by searching for “American Red Cross” in app stores.
The Red Cross responds to more than 60,000 disasters every year and most of them are home fires. To help prevent fire-related deaths and injuries, the Red Cross launched the “Home Fire Campaign” with community partners in 2014 to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries.
So far, the “Home Fire Campaign” has reached more than 2.5 million people, and is credited with saving more than 1,200 lives across the country – including 43 lives within the region. Visit redcross.org/HomeFireStories to learn more.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow on Twitter at @RedCross.