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PRESS CONTACT INFO

ROBIN ERICKSON
Director of Communications

PHONE
(401) 831-7700 x101
E-MAIL
[email protected]

Wednesday, October 9, 2002
Red Cross Urging Rhode Islanders to Observe National Fire Prevention Week by Reviewing Safety Tips With Loved Ones

As the temperature dips near freezing this week, many Rhode Islanders will be turning on the heat for the first time --- including electrical heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves. The American Red Cross of Rhode Island is urging Ocean State residents to take a few moments this week --- October 6th-11th, which is National Fire Prevention Week --- to review safety steps with their families.

"According to experts, four out of seven house fires occur in the winter months --- between November and February," Nick Logothets, Emergency Services Director for the American Red Cross of Rhode Island, said. "This is the time of year we start seeing a spike in the number of house fires across the state --- and many of these disasters can be prevented."

Red Cross Fire Safety Tips ... CLICK HERE for more tips

  • Use smoke detectors. You should have one on every level of your home and check them monthly. If bedrooms are in separate areas of the house, each room should have one.
  • Don't smoke in bed, reclining chairs or on the couch. Rule of thumb: if you can't sit up straight with two feet on the ground, you shouldn't light up!
  • Make an escape plan and practice it. Here's a scary statistic: kids spend just 6 hours a day in school and have at least 15 fire drills a year. They spend 15 or more hours at home and most NEVER practice a fire drill with their parents!
  • Sleep with bedroom doors closed. If a fire should occur somewhere else in the home, it will limit the smoke in the bedroom for a longer period of time.
  • Keep matches and lighters where children can't reach them. It sounds obvious, but this is a leading cause of fire with children between the ages of 3 and 6.
  • Don't leave food cooking on stovetop unattended. It only takes a few minutes for a major kitchen fire to ignite. And roll up your sleeves!
  • Don't overload plugs and circuits. This is a problem year-round. Throw away worn extension cords and use surge protectors whenever possible.
  • Practice: Stop, drop and roll. It may sound silly, but when clothes catch on fire, people panic. If you run to the sink to get water you're only giving the fire more oxygen to spread.
  • Space heaters need space! This is a leading cause of winter fires. Most heaters need a 3-foot diameter of space around them to be safe. Keep clothing, furniture and curtains far away from the unit.
  • Inspect Fireplaces Have your chimney inspected by a professional prior to the start of every heating season. Creosote, a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, builds up in chimneys and can cause a chimney fire if not properly cleaned.
  • Watch Your Wood Stoves Be sure your wood or coal stove bears the label of a recognized testing laboratory and meets local fire codes.

MORE FIRE SAFETY TIPS

Last year, the American Red Cross of Rhode Island responded to 176 fires in Rhode Island, providing emergency food, clothing and shelter to 379 families. All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free. We rely on donations to fund our services. To make a donation, call 1.800.842.1122 or visit www.riredcross.org today.

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