Be Red Cross Ready: Fire Prevention Week Oct. 3-9

Avoiding the Biggest Disaster Threat Affecting Northeast Wisconsin Families

Dozens of families flee from their homes every year due to fire. Last year, the American Red Cross Northeast Wisconsin Region responded to 163 local disasters with nearly all being residential fires. Nationally, the American Red Cross responds to more than 63,000 fires throughout the country. 

October is Fire Safety Month and October 3-9 is Fire Prevention Week. That’s why the American Red Cross is encouraging people to take steps to minimize the risk of home fires by remembering two key fire safety steps: install a smoke alarm and develop a fire escape plan.

“Fires can strike suddenly and spread quickly,” says Steve Hansen, the Regional Chapter Executive. “It’s important that people take simple and inexpensive steps now, such as installing a smoke alarm inside bedrooms, outside sleeping areas and on every level of their homes.  They should also create a plan of escape in case they need to leave at a moment’s notice, because during a fire every second counts and being prepared can greatly reduce the effects of these devastating disasters.”

It is recommended that people check each smoke alarm in their home by pushing the test button at least once a month and replace batteries every year, or as needed. Also, replace smoke alarms every ten years. Fire escape plans should include at least two escape routes from every room in the home, and a convenient meeting place at a safe distance from the home. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year and revise as necessary. Families are encouraged to pay particular attention to developing and regularly practicing escape plans for children and older adults.

The Red Cross is committed to helping people learn how to minimize the risk of a home fire. 

Help Prevent Fires:

• Keep all sources of fuel (paper, clothing, bedding, and carpets or rugs) at least three feet away from all heat sources when cooking, or using alternative heating like a space heater.

• Don’t leave the kitchen while you’re frying, grilling or broiling food, and don’t leave home if you’re simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food.

• Keep matches and lighters away from and out of reach of children.

If a Fire Strikes Your Home:

• Once you are out, stay out! Call the fire department from a neighbor’s home.

• If you see smoke or fire in your first escape route, use your second way out. If you must exit through smoke, crawl low under the smoke to your exit. If you are escaping through a closed door, feel the door before opening it. If the door is warm, use your second way out.

 • If smoke, heat, or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with the door closed. Signal for help using a brightly colored cloth at the window. If there is a telephone in the room, call the fire department and tell them where you are.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information visit or

 About the American Red Cross Northeast Wisconsin Region

The Northeast Wisconsin Region is a grouping of four chapters serving 20 counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters. To learn more about Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact the Northeast region at 920-231-3590 or visit

 About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at


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