(WBNG Binghamton) The American Red Cross is helping families and businesses learn how to protect themselves and others from fires in observance of National Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 7-13.
According to a news release:
Last year, the Red Cross responded to about 63,000 home fires across the country by providing comfort and basic necessities to more than 82,000 families.
“We respond to about one home fire every nine minutes across the country. The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones is to install a smoke alarm and develop and practice a fire escape plan,” said Shelley Bierwiler, Community Chapter Executive of the American Red Cross Southern Tier Chapter “Fires can spread very quickly, so 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 twice a year.
• Follow your escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local
• Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information
on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the
Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.
Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for additional fire safety tips.
Businesses should also be prepared. Fire is the most common of all business disasters.
According to the United States Fire Association, non-residential building fires resulted in $2.4 billion in losses in 2010. 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 www.readyrating.org. 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. Last year, the Red Cross provided nearly $75,000 to more than 425 victims of home fires in Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Tioga counties.
“In order to continue responding to disasters like fires at homes and businesses here in the Southern Tier, the Red Cross depends on the generous support of individuals and businesses in the community,” Bierwiler said. “To make a donation, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit