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American Red Cross wraps up National Fire Prevention Week

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Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012 12:30 am

HONOLULU — From Oct. 7 to 13, the American Red Cross helped families and businesses learn how to protect themselves and others from fires in observance of National Fire Prevention Week.

Last year, the Red Cross responded to about 63,000 home fires across the country by providing comfort and basic necessities to more than 82,000 families.

“We respond to about one home fire every nine minutes across the country,” Hawai‘i Disaster Chapter CEO Coralie Matayoshi said in a press release. “On a local level, 84 percent of the disasters we responded to in Hawai‘i last year were single or multi-family fires. The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones is to install a smoke alarm and develop and practice a fire escape plan.”

Matayoshi said fires can spread very quickly, so everyone at home, school and work should know what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm.

Additional recommendations include:

• Install smoke alarms on every level of the house and inside bedrooms.

• Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.

• Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your house in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year.

• Follow your escape plan in case of fire. Get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

• Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android.

Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for additional fire safety tips.

Business, too, should be prepared. Fire is the most common of all business disasters. According to the U.S. Fire Association, non-residential building fires resulted in $2.4 billion in losses in 2010.

Companies, schools and other organizations can learn how to prepare for fires and other emergencies by becoming a member of the Red Cross Ready Rating™ Program at www.readyrating.org. Complete a free, online assessment and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.

The Red Cross is also helps those in need when fires break out. The Hawai‘i State Chapter responded to 72 home fires last year, providing 83 families affected with immediate emergency needs.

The Red Cross is a non-profit humanitarian organization which provides assistance to meet the immediate emergency needs of those affected by disasters.

The Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.

Visit www.hawaiiredcross.org or call:  (808) 739-8109 to make an online donation, or send a contribution to American Red Cross, Hawai‘i State Chapter 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI 96816.

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