“Stop, Drop and Roll,” this, is what most kids learn this from something in a health book, or an assembly held in their school, telling them what to do when a fire occurs in their homes.
October is Fire Prevention Month and The American Red Cross wants to get the word out, for people to be careful as the weather is beginning to change, and to remind people that they will install free smoke alarms in any home that needs one.
Debbie Smith, of the local American Red Cross in Portsmouth, says, “What is very important to us is insuring that everyone has working smoke alarms in their homes, said Debbis Smith, executive director of the Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. “ We are always responding to home fires and we know as the temperatures are now dropping, we see a lot more home fires. It is very important because seven times a day someone dies in a home fire and we are trying to change those statistics, insuring everyone has a free working smoke alarm in their home. When we install smoke alarms, we come out and we take a good look at the home to insure if they do have any, that they work properly and if not, to insure that they have the proper amount of smoke alarms and that they are located in the right places within the homes.”
Smith said that many times people will have the smoke alarms in or near the stove and they will say that it goes off all the time and that they just take it down, or take the battery out. She said that they have already, since June, seen a good amount of house fires this year, versus last year, and that was before it had even gotten cooler.
Smith was sure to add that not all fires are caused by heating. “Honestly, one of the most common cause of fires is typically cooking and they don’t keep their eyes on the fry, as we call it. Don’t turn your back to it, because fires can break out quickly, sometimes people start something or start cooking something and they forget or they forget to turn something off.” She also said people may not realize that if you leave appliances plugged in and they may not even be running, but they can start a fire, especially when the home has older wiring.
The local Red Cross is always looking for volunteers to install smoke alarms. Smith said they will train people right at the Red Cross. She said even if you don’t have a lot of time to devote, just one day a month helps them. “More than ever we need volunteers, because with all the hurricanes hitting the Carolinas, Florida, and the Panhandle, we deploy a lot of people, we have a lot that help respond to the major things, but that leaves us a little short here, so we always need volunteers for all types of things. We will take all the help we can get,” said Smith.
She said that if you sign up to volunteer and there is a big disaster, you don’t have to go out, but it helps to have people sign up and that way the volunteers they do have are not spread out too thinly, especially when others deploy. If there was a disaster in the area, other people would come here and help and the local Red Cross here, has seen that happen.
The American Red Cross’s Website has listed the following as top tips for fire safety:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
- Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone
If you are in need of free smoke alarms in your home, call The Portsmouth American Red Cross at: (740) 354-3293 or stop in their offices at 1801 Robinson Ave, Portsmouth, OH 45662.
Fire is something that can devastate those who have them happen to them, and it’s great to know that The American Red Cross is there and wanting to help, by installing free smoke alarms.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928