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National Fire Prevention Week: Test Smoke Alarms, Practice Escape Plan

Post Date:10/03/2023 2:22 PM

emergency preparedness backpack, plan, and mobile app 

By Aleesia Benkey, Intern, American Red Cross


National Fire Prevention Week, which runs from Oct. 8 to 14, is an important reminder to protect your family against the threat of home fires. These everyday disasters can strike quickly and leave you with as little as two minutes to safely escape.

How to Protect Your Family

The American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties urges you to learn more about home fire safety and emergency preparedness to keep you and your loved ones safe.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, in sleeping areas and bedrooms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it. 
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  • Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
  • Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know whom to contact if they cannot find one another.
  • Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year, to ensure everyone in the home - including pets, can escape in two minutes or less.
  • Tailor your escape plan to everyone’s needs in your household. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, install strobe lights and bed-shaker alarms to help alert you to a fire. When practicing your plan, include any devices or people that can help you to get out safely.

If you cannot afford to purchase smoke alarms or are physically unable to install one, the Red Cross can help. Visit to request a free smoke alarm installation.

 Preparing Now Can Save Your Live

Home fires claim seven lives each day in the U.S. That's why the Red Cross launched the Red Cross Home Fire Safety Campaign with community partners in 2014 to help prevent fire tragedies. So far, the campaign has helped save at least 1,928 lives nationwide by helping families create escape plans, installing free smoke alarms and educating people about fire safety in high-risk communities. In San Diego and Imperial Counties, Red Cross volunteers and partners have installed over 36,420 free smoke alarms and helped make over 13,080 households safer since the home fire campaign launch.

To access free home fire safety resources or learn how you can get involved to help families prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies like home fires, visit

About the American Red Cross Southern California Region 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the public to perform its mission. The Red Cross Southern California Region proudly serves San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial Counties.

In addition to carrying out disaster preparedness and response programs, blood collection, health and safety training, international services programs, and supporting the military community, the Southern California region provides nutritional counseling through its Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in San Diego and helps communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters through its Prepare SoCal and Prepare San Diego initiatives. For more information, please visit or, or connect with us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube

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