National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6-12, and the Palmetto Region of the American Red Cross urges everyone to practice their home fire escape plan and test their smoke alarms.

“During Fire Prevention Week, prepare your family for home fires before the holidays and cold weather increase the risk of these crises,” said Louise Welch-Williamson, regional CEO. “Home fires are most often caused by cooking and heating equipment, and we want everyone to stay safe. Please install and test smoke alarms on every level of your home and practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in two minutes or less.”

Practice your plan and test your alarms: For free home fire safety resources, visit or download the free Red Cross Emergency App (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).

  • Include at least two ways to get out of each room in your home fire escape plan
  • 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
  • Practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in two minutes or less
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, placing them inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas
  • Test smoke alarms monthly, and change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it

Lifesaving home fire campaign marks five years: Home fires take seven lives each day in the U.S., most often in homes without working smoke alarms. That’s why the Red Cross is working with partners to install free smoke alarms in high-risk communities and help families create escape plans through its Home Fire Campaign — which has saved at least 642 lives across the country since launching in October 2014.

Over the past five years in South Carolina the Red Cross and local partners have:

  • Saved at least 65 lives across the state
  • Installed nearly 75,000 free smoke alarms
  • Reached more than 11,700 children through youth preparedness programs
  • Made more than 22,000 households safer from the threat of home fires