The American Red Cross has deemed February "Home Fire Prevention Month" and is raising public awareness of how to keep homes safe from fire.
Last year The Red Cross responded to over 150 disasters in Utah alone and Rich Woodruff, Director of Communications for the Utah Region of The Red Cross, said response to home fires is one of their most frequently-utilized services.
"The Red Cross responds to about 70,000 incidents a year nationwide, that's about one every eight minutes," said Woodruff. "Probably the vast majority of these tend to be home fires, so it's really kind of the mainstay of the services that we offer."
The Red Cross advises the public to take some precautions such as turning off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep, never smoking in bed, and keeping flammable items at least three feet away from anything that gets hot.
"Just take safety precautions," said Woodruff. "Some are common sense, maybe some aren't. Just reminders to check the smoke alarm, make sure the batteries are good; if you've had it for more than several years you might just want to replace it."
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are almost 365,000 residential fires reported in the U.S. every year, causing more than $6 billion in property loss.
For more information about home fire prevention, visit The American Red Cross website.