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Monday marks the beginning of Home Fire Prevention Week and the Amercian Red Cross is reminding everyone that the biggest disaster threat to American families isn’t floods, or tornadoes, it’s fire.
The Red Cross says it responds to a disaster every eight minutes and nearly all of these are home fires. The Greater St. Louis Region responded to more than 1,300 fires last year. Fortunately, most home fires can be prevented.
Homeowners should check for items that can be hazardous such as candles and space heaters and keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.
Here are some other easy, but important steps that can be taken to keep your home safe.
* Never smoke in bed.
* Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
* Smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. Because smoke rises, put the alarms on the ceiling or high on a wall.
* Test the smoke alarms regularly. Install new batteries every year.
* Make a plan. The Red Cross recommends that households develop a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home. People should know two ways to escape from every room and designate a safe place to meet outside the home.