Free home fire safety resources available after busy, deadly start to 2021

By Justin Kern

Residents in Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan can protect their homes and families from the deadly threat of home fires by signing up for free preparedness resources during a push for fire safety this spring led by the American Red Cross and local fire departments.

Beginning April 8, local Red Cross volunteers are encouraging people to sign up for free home fire preparedness resources—including escape plans and tips for talking with children—as part of the national “Sound the Alarm. Save a Life” campaign to educate 100,000 people about home fire safety this spring.

Preparedness appointments will be handled virtually, in an effort to safely support families amid the pandemic. The Red Cross will also work with fire department partners on the potential to install free smoke alarms when it is safe to do so.

“More than 1,400 people have been displaced by fires in Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan since just the start of this year,” said Mark Thomas, Regional CEO, American Red Cross of Wisconsin. “After this busy start to 2021, we’re proud to offer these free, virtual home fire resources as an easy, safe way to keep families prepared.”

To sign up, visit redcross.org/WISmokeAlarms or call (877) 618-6628.

Help protect your family against home fires by taking two simple steps: Practice your two-minute escape drill and test your smoke alarms monthly. Visit SoundTheAlarm.org for more information and to pledge to prepare your family against home fires.

  • Create an escape plan with at least two ways to exit every room in your home. 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 knows to meet.
  • Practice your escape plan until everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes.
  • Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Change the batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.
  • Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they should be replaced, per Wisconsin safety statutes. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.