‘Turn and Test’ this weekend to prevent home fire tragedies
When turning back your clocks this Sunday, the Red Cross of the Coastal Bend is asking residents to test smoke alarms to help protect local families from home fires — which continue to be the nation’s most frequent disaster during COVID-19.
Since January, volunteers responded to more than 830 home fires throughout the Texas Gulf Coast region to help more than 3,900 people with urgent needs like emergency lodging, financial assistance, and recovery planning.
“The need to stay safe from home fires hasn’t changed during COVID-19,” said Alex Garcia, Executive Director, American Red Cross of Coastal Bend. “That’s why it’s critical to have working smoke alarms, which can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. This weekend, after you turn back the clock, take a few minutes to test your smoke alarm to help keep you and your loved ones safe.”
HOW TO ‘TURN AND TEST’ Press the button on your smoke alarms, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and replace the batteries if needed — at least once a year, if your model requires it. Also, follow these steps:
Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. That’s because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time. Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms and follow the instructions.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
Practice your two-minute escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late. Include at least two ways to get out of every room and 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 can meet.