With fire season quickly approaching, the Red Cross is advising Utahns to get prepared with their “Fire Hurts. Red Cross helps.” campaign. The project assisted 220 families displaced by fire last year and hopes to continue the legacy of the campaign by getting more members of the public prepared to handle potential fire situations.
"Most of the deaths that are in home fires are caused by faulty or missing smoke detectors, so it’s always a good idea to change your batteries every year," said Rich Woodruff with the Red Cross. "We always recommend when you change your clocks it’s a good time to switch out the batteries in your smoke detector, and if you have not changed it in over 10 years, you need to replace it completely.”
Woodruff urged the public to not use frayed electrical cords, extension cords over a long period of time, or store flammable materials by water heaters. He also recommended that homeowners close to brush and vegetation take sufficient precaution when securing their home against potential wildfires.
“Be cognizant of the clearing around your property so there’s a bit of a fire break and to have tools available in the event you might have to contain a small degree of fire before the fire department would be able to get to you, and to have basically an exit plan," said Woodruff.
Woodruff also advised families to select a predetermined gathering place and have a picture ready, perhaps including the family pet, to assist in locating individuals if displaced.
There were over 67,000 wildfires in the United States in 2012 alone. For more information on fire safety prevention, visit the Red Cross website.