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Remember to test your smoke alarms


The American Red Cross is reminding everyone to test their smoke alarms to make sure the alarms are working.

“Home fires claim more lives every year than all natural disasters combined, but working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half,” said Micheal Sullivan, Executive Director for the South­eastern Missouri Northeast Arkansas chapter of the Red Cross. “The sooner an alarm alerts you to a fire, the sooner you can get out. Test your smoke alarms to help prevent a tragedy in your home.”

From January 1, 2023 to October 31, 2023, local Red Cross volunteers responded to help 567 people in Southeastern Missouri and bordering Illinois county communities affected by 173 home fires, which account for most of the more than 60,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to annually across the country.

Since the beginning of the year, in the state of Missouri, the Red Cross assisted a total of 4,736 people affected by 1,383 home fires.

Test your smoke alarms and replace the batteries if needed. Additional safety tips include:

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.

Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Components such as sensors can become less sensitive over time. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.

Practice your two-minute home fire escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late.

Include at least two ways to get out of every room and 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 can meet.

Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to create and practice with your family, or download the free Red Cross Emergency app by searching “American Red Cross” in app stores.

If you cannot afford to purchase smoke alarms or are physically unable to install one, the Red Cross may be able to help. Contact your local Red Cross for help. Visit www.redcross.org/SmokeAlarmMO or www.redcross.org/SmokeAlarmAR to sign up for a free smoke alarm installation, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

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