KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As the threat of house fires increases with cold weather, the American Red Cross is urging people to test their smoke alarms.
It's a life-saving reminder highlighted during Fire Prevention Week, which runs Oct. 3-9.
Officials also recommend everyone practice their two-minute escape drill -- the amount of time that experts say you may have to get out in the event of a house fire.
According to the American Red Cross, their teams respond to 27% more home fires between November and March, because people tend to spend more time inside during those colder months. Cooking and heating equipment are the leading causes of these fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association
"Home fires upend lives every day, causing heartbreak and destroying everything that makes four walls into a home," said Jennifer Pipa, vice president of Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services. "As the threat gets worse with the onset of colder temperatures, help keep your family safe by testing your smoke alarms and practicing your two-minute fire escape drill."
Here's what you need to know
- Smoke alarms should be placed on each level of the home and tested monthly. Batteries need to be changed at least once a year.
- If your smoke alarm is ten years or older, replace them.
- Your escape plan should include at least two ways to exit every room.
- Designate a safe meeting spot for everyone to meet in the event of a fire, and design your escape plan to everyone's needs in your family.
Contact your local Red Cross for help if you are not able to purchase a smoke alarm.