The Red Cross is offering safety tips for those to heat their homes as the weather gets colder.
They say every second counts when there is a home fire. “A fire can take a home in as little as two minutes,” The Red Cross said in a release. “Therefore, escaping in less than two minutes can be the difference between survival and tragedy. The Red Cross encourages everyone to talk to their children about fire safety to help families stay safe.”
Two steps to prevent fire tragedies, according to the Red Cross, is to test your smoke alarms monthly and to practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can escape in less than two minutes. "Nearly all of us have engaged in ordinary activities that can cause home fires, from walking out of the kitchen while cooking to leaving burning candles unattended. As the weather gets colder, we see an increase in home fires.”
The Red Cross urges everyone to use caution when heating their homes. “A 2020 national Red Cross survey showed more than half of us have used a space heater, which is involved in most fatal home heating fires. Provide at least three feet of space for all heating equipment, and never leave space heaters unattended.”
They also provided the following tips on heating homes:
- If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor. Don’t place it on rugs and carpets, or near bedding and drapes; keep away children and pets.
- Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets – never into an extension cord. Turn it off every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
- Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.
For free home fire safety resources, including an escape plan, visit redcross.org/fire or download the free Red Cross Emergency App. If you need assistance after a home fire or disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747.