Ounce of prevention

Published 8:56 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It only takes a moment for your dream home to go up in flames. Same holds true for your business, school or place of worship. Fire prevention is one of those “ounce of prevention, pound of cure” scenarios that should be taken seriously the entire year.
That is why the American Red Cross is working to raise awareness in observance of National Fire Prevention Week Oct. 7-13. According to its news release, the Red Cross responded to about 63,000 home fires across the country last year, 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 Autum Mihm, communications director for the Eastern North Carolina Region of the Red Cross, in the news release. “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.”
Early detection is critical to survival, so it is wise to have smoke detectors on every level of the house, especially inside bedrooms. Test the detectors monthly and change the batteries yearly.
We remember having fire drills during our school days and a fire plan is just as important as adults. The Red Cross recommends that each household member knows two ways to escape from every room and designate a meeting place outside of your house. Hold household fire drills at least twice a year.
Once you are out of the house, stay out and dial 911.
Lastly, with your support, know that the American Red Cross is there when disaster strikes. The Eastern North Carolina Region of the American Red Cross responded to 513 home fires last year, spending nearly $300,000 in direct financial assistance to 554 families.
“In order to continue responding to disasters like fires at homes and businesses here in eastern North Carolina, the Red Cross depends on the generous support of individuals and businesses in the community,” read a statement from Summer Woodard, chief development officer.
For more fire prevention tips, visit www.redcross.org/homefires.