BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Seven times a day, according to the American Red Cross, someone in the United States dies in a fire.
Hoping to reduce that number, the Red Cross and Blytheville firefighters will go door-to-door Monday, Nov. 16, installing smoke alarms in neighborhoods with high fire reports.
"The loss of life was unfortunately felt by the northeast region this past week when two toddlers died in a home fire," said Pam Knapp Carver, executive director of the American Red Cross serving Northeast Arkansas. "The Red Cross responds to home fires at least five times daily across Arkansas, so helping victims of fires is care we provide everyday around the clock. But, when loss of life is involved, it's tough."
Blytheville Fire Chief Mike Carney said a working fire alarm is the first line of defense for safety.
"Our fire department provides smoke alarms throughout the year because we see the tragic loss of life when they aren't in homes," Carney said.
In addition to installing smoke alarms, firefighters and Red Cross volunteers will teach people what to do should a fire break out in their home. They will also replace batteries in homes that already have alarms.
"I can't say enough times how critical it is to have an alarm that works," Carney said. "You have less than two minutes to escape a home fire and, with most fatalities occurring at times when people are asleep, that alert is a real lifesaver."
The Red Cross says these steps will increase your chances of surviving a fire:
If you home does not have smoke alarms, install them. Put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
If you home does have alarms, test them today. If they do not work, replace them.
Make sure that everyone in the household knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
Practice that plan. Time the household's escape time.
Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.