The biggest disaster threat to American families isn’t floods, hurricanes or tornadoes; it’s fire. The American Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes and nearly all of these are home fires.
The Central and Western Oklahoma Region responded to 487 house fires and 37 multi-family fires last year. Fire is everyone’s fight and the Red Cross urges people to know what steps they can take to help prevent fires.
“Home fires are a common and deadly threat because they happen so quickly,” said Janienne Bella, regional CEO. “We urge everyone to become aware of what they should do to prevent a fire in their home.”
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there are almost 365,000 residential fires reported in the U.S. every year. These fires cause more than $6 billion in property loss. While the frequency of fire deaths has steadily decreased over the past ten years due to increased awareness and safety measures, more than 2,400 Americans still die every year in home fires.
Fortunately, most home fires can be prevented. Homeowners should check for items that can be hazardous such as candles and space heaters – common items that can turn dangerous very quickly.
To help avoid a fire in the home, there are steps someone can take now:
- Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep.