Tips to keep you and family safe

Holidays are busy times for many, and the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region’s Disaster Action Teams (DAT) is no exception. LA’s disaster response teams saw an uptick in fire events since September, responding to 31 home fire events during November’s 30 days.

Home fires account for 90 percent of all disaster responses. Greater Los Angeles was spared any major disasters last month, but November still called upon Red Cross volunteers to provide 194 people support and guidance through their individual home disasters and recovery journeys.

Every day of the year,  people are forced from their homes due to fires, storms and other disasters. Trained and willing volunteers are ready to respond within minutes to these emergencies, 24 hours a day. Disaster responders bring care and compassion to each response, while meeting immediate needs for shelter, supplies and long-term recovery services.

While the COVID pandemic continues, Red Cross volunteers are trained to maintain social distancing and follow proper safety procedures to continue serving communities impacted by local disasters, during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Red Cross urges everyone to follow these five safety tips to prevent fires and keep everyone safe:

1. Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.

2. Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they likely need to be replaced because components such as batteries can become less reliable. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.

3. Include at least two ways to exit every room in your home in your escape plan https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/get-help/fire-safety/Home-Fire-Escape-Plan-English-Spanish.pdf.

4. Select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone knows to meet.

5. Tailor your escape plan to everyone’s needs in your household. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, install strobe light 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.

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