JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -Members of an organization are fighting for prevention.
Fire Prevention Week kicked off Oct. 7 across the nation, with representatives with the American Red Cross working to remind people to take two simple, but important steps.
They ask people to practice fire drills in their home and be sure to test smoke alarms monthly.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, seven people die every day from home fires.
This takes more lives every year than all other natural disasters combined.
Director of Training for the Jonesboro Fire Department Eric Simmons said having a plan in place is necessary.
“It’s very important to have an escape plan in place and practiced,” Simmons said. “This is especially important if you’re woken from sleep in the middle of the night. You’ll be alarmed and disoriented. So, you need to have a plan in mind and practiced so you know what to do.”
In a Red Cross survey done last year, experts said home fires leave people with as little as two minutes to escape.
Many people mistakenly believe they have more time than this to get out and become trapped or unconscious.
In addition to an escape plan, Simmons advised families designate a spot outside the home where you meet.
He said this “spot” is also a big help to firefighters that arrive on scene.
“If you have a place where you all meet once outside your house,” Simmons said. “When we get there, we know automatically if someone is missing. We’ll automatically always check to make sure know one is inside the building, but this helps us know for sure if someone’s inside and who we’re looking for.”
The Home Fire Campaign is a nationwide effort to reduce the number of fire related deaths and injuries.
Members of the Red Cross are working with community partners to install free smoke alarms and help families create their fire escape plans.
Simmons said making sure your smoke detectors are working properly is essential for an early warning.
“Smoke alarms need to be tested,” Simmons said. “They detect the smoke in the air and can save your life.”
Simmons also advised anyone having gas appliances in their home invest in a carbon monoxide detector.
Since the Red Cross campaign was created in October 2014, more than 1.6 million people have been reached and their effort is credited with saving 472 lives.
They have installed 1.4 million smoke alarms and made 514,200 escape plans for families.