March 7, 2021

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Red Cross promotes measures to prevent residential fires

Photo: Supplied

SAN JUAN – Before the start of Fire Prevention Week, the American Red Cross Chapter of Puerto Rico urged everyone to test their smoke detectors and practice their evacuation plan on Monday.

“Within all that we live under this pandemic, it is important to stop and raise awareness of the vulnerability of suffering a fire in our home. Therefore, the time is now to verify if we have our smoke detectors with their batteries charged and if we all know how to evacuate from each room in the home, ”said Lee Vanessa Feliciano, regional executive of the American Red Cross Chapter of Puerto Rico in written communication.

Residential fires are the most frequent disasters that the American Red Cross assists nationally and in Puerto Rico. The assistance provided by the Red Cross to a family affected by a fire allows them to cover their basic needs; from the purchase of clothing, food, shoes, and accommodation, among others. From January to September 2020, 179 families around the island were assisted by the Red Cross because of a fire in their home.

People can support the work of the Red Cross when it assists families affected by disasters through the Donate Your Change campaign that is present in all Walmart, Amigo Supermarkets and Sam’s Club.

American Red Cross Survey

Home fires claim seven lives a day in the United States, but a new national survey from the American Red Cross shows that most citizens do not take steps to protect themselves. As prevention, the following actions are recommended:

Test your smoke detectors every month to make sure they are working well, which could cut your risk of dying in a home fire by half.

Practicing your eviction plan twice a year increases your chance of survival.

Clear in less than two minutes, which is the time recommended by fire experts.

How to protect your family

  • Login for more information or download the free application “Emergency American Red Cross”, available in English and Spanish, under “Emergency American Red Cross” in the application stores.
  • Test your smoke detectors once a month.
  • Place smoke detectors on every floor in your home, including inside and outside bedrooms.
  • Change the batteries at least once a year, if required by the model.
  • Check the date of manufacture of your smoke detectors. If they are 10 years old or older, you need to replace them as the sensor loses effectiveness. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your detector.
  • Practice your eviction plan until everyone can leave in less than two minutes.
  • Include at least two ways to get out of each room in your home.
  • Choose a meeting point at a safe distance from your home where everyone knows how to get there.
  • Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like. Talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency.

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