Red Cross officials offering fire safety tips

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS - American Red Cross officials say they are offering several safety tips to central Illinois residents in order to help reduce the risk of home fires.

According to Regional Executive Director Betsy Pratt, American Red Cross crews responded to twelve house fires in and around central Illinois on February 21 and 22.  Pratt says the large number of fires is prompting Red Cross officials to remind residents of how quickly fires can happen, and why it's important to have a plan.

Officials are urging residents to create a fire escape plan for their homes, and to practice it at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home.  Residents should know two ways to escape from every room in the house, and a safe spot should be designated outside the home for family members to meet.  Residents should practice the plan until all residents can safely exit the house in under two minutes.

We've also included several tips that are being shared by Red Cross officials below:
·    Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area, placing them on the ceiling or high on the wall.
·    Put a smoke alarm inside every bedroom.
·    Test the smoke alarms regularly. Install new batteries every year.
·    Get new smoke alarms every ten years.
·    Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.
·    Never smoke in bed.
·    Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep.

For more information on the American Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org.

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