It’s been so hot and dry here in middle Tennessee that we’ve broken records. We are in a drought situation and burn bans are in place, so I felt there was no better time than now to share tips and resources for fire prevention week. There are several easy steps you can start or put in place this weekend to keep you and your loved ones safe. In fact, I’ll be working on our new safety plan on the back deck this evening.  My thanks to the Red Cross for sending this information along so I could share it with you.

enjoying our back deck this Fall

Prepare Now:

According to Joel Sullivan, the Regional Executive for the American Red Cross of Tennessee, “this is the time of year we see more home fires happen. As cold weather increases the risk of home fires increases. We are urging all families to please prepare your family now during Fire Prevention Week.” You only have about two minutes to escape your home if a fire starts, so these safety tips can save lives!

Top Tips For Fire Safety: 

Step One: Test or Install Smoke Alarms:

Smoke Alarms and clocks

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Smoke alarms double the chance of your family surviving a fire, so it goes without saying that you should have several.
  • Don’t neglect to test them and change the batteries regularly. You should test them once a month and change the batteries every 6 months (if your smoke alarms use replaceable batteries) regardless of whether they seem to need it, just to be on the safe side (some alarms are 10-year tamper resistant and don’t have replaceable batteries).
  • Make it a habit to change batteries twice a year when you turn your clocks.

Step Two: Practice Escape Plans: 

Mapping your escape plan

Despite your best efforts, something may go unexpectedly wrong, so you and your family should have a plan for what to do in case of emergency. Put your escape plan in a common area, like in the family room, or office. 

1. Create an escape route that provides two possible exits from each room, such as a window and a door.

2. Avoid using any windowless rooms as bedrooms.

3. Keep escape routes as clutter-free as possible so no one trips and falls on the way out during an emergency.

4. Practice your plan at least twice a year and make sure everyone can safely escape in less than 2 minutes.

5. Keep in mind that members of your household may need extra assistance — have a plan for who will help them and practice! 

6. Check Electronics and Outlets

7. Inspect Storage Areas

Check your cords and outlets

Sound the Alarm. Save a Life.

Sound the alarm save a life


Every day, seven people die in home fires, most victims in homes that lack smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately lose their lives. The American Red Cross wants to improve the odds and save lives - that's why we launched our Home Fire Campaign in 2014.

A critical part of the campaign is Sound the Alarm, a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across the country. Together with fire departments and other community partners, Red Cross volunteers:


·         Canvas at-risk neighborhoods
·         Install free smoke alarms
·         Replace batteries in existing alarms
Provide fire prevention and safety education

In just five years, our home visits have accomplished so much, including the installation of more than 1.8 million smoke alarms and preparing more than 1 million people against home fires. If you would like to donate to this amazing cause, or help The Red Cross in any way, go here.

I hope you’ve found these tips and resources helpful. To learn more about any of these tips in more detail, please visit the Red Cross Is Your Home a Fire Hazard page here.

Please share in comments: Do you have an escape plan in place in case of emergencies?

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