Test Smoke Alarms Now Before Cold Weather

Test Smoke Alarms Now

The American Red Cross New Jersey Region

During the annual Fire Prevention Week (October 3-9), the American Red Cross New Jersey Region urged people to test their smoke alarms before the threat of home fires increases with cold weather.

The Red Cross responds to 27% more home fires in November-March than in warmer months. According to the National Fire Protection Association — which is sponsoring Fire Prevention Week with the theme, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” — home fires are most common in cooler months when people spend more time inside, and cooking and heating equipment are the leading causes of these crises.

“Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of fatalities in a home fire by 50 percent,” said Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “Each day, Red Cross volunteers care for neighbors devastated by home fires, and we want to prevent needless tragedies from these disasters.”

How To Protect Your Family

Test your smoke alarms and practice your two-minute home fire escape drill — the amount of time that experts say you may have to get out before it’s too late. Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like and talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency. 

Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.

Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they likely need to be replaced because components such as batteries can become less reliable. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.

Include at least two ways to exit every room in your home in your escape plan.

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 knows to meet.

Tailor your escape plan to everyone’s needs in your household. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, install strobe light and bed-shaker alarms to help alert you to a fire. When practicing your plan, include any devices or people that can help you to get out safely.

People can visit redcross.org/fire to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved ones from home fires and access free fire safety resources.

About the American Red Cross in New Jersey:

The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 4,400 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey last year, the Red Cross responded to 848 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 2,004 displaced families; collected more than 90,923 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided more than 6,898 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 72,073 people with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visit redcross.org/NJ and follow us on Twitter @NJRedCross.org.