10/14/12 — Fire Prevention Week observed

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Fire Prevention Week observed

By From staff reports
Published in News on October 14, 2012 1:50 AM

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Last week was National Fire Prevention Week and firefighters across Wayne visited schools to help draw attention to the need to be careful with fire. Bryan Wheeler of the Pikeville/Pleasant Grove Fire Department shows second-graders at Northwest Elementery about the gear he wears.

The American Red Cross is offering fire prevention tips for families and business in observance of National Fire Prevention Week, which was observed the second week of October.

"We respond to about one home fire every nine minutes across the country," said Chuck Waller, chief executive officer for the Wayne and Lenoir county chapters of the American Red Cross.

"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. 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."

Waller also gives these tips:

* 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.

Waller said that businesses, too, should be prepared in case of a fire.

"Fire is the most common of all business disasters," he said.

He said according to the United State 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, Waller said. Complete a free, online assessment of your current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.

"In addition to helping families and businesses prepare their homes and facilities for potential fires, the Red Cross is there to help those in need when fires break out," Waller said. "The Wayne and Lenoir county chapters of the American Red Cross responded to 90 home fires last year, assisting 293 families, providing food, comfort, shelter and emotional support.

"In order to continue responding to disasters like fires at homes and businesses here in eastern North Carolina, the Red Cross depends on the generous support of individuals and businesses in the community."

To make a donation, log onto www.redcross.org, call 735-7201 or mail it to American Red Cross, 600 N. George St., Goldsboro, NC, 27530.