Smoke alarms should generally be installed at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms.

As people turn their clocks forward for daylight saving time this Sunday, the American Red Cross Serving East Texas encourages everyone to also test their smoke alarms.

Since March 2020, local Red Cross volunteers have helped more than 940 people with urgent needs like emergency lodging, financial assistance and recovery planning, following more than 260 home fires in East Texas. In 2021, volunteers have already responded to approximately 70 local home or apartment fires and assisted nearly 300 people.

“Home fire remain the nation’s most frequent disaster during COVID-19,” said Tammy Prater, Executive Director, American Red Cross Serving East Texas. “This weekend, take a moment to test your smoke alarms to help protect your family against home fires.”

How to ‘turn and test’

Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Below are steps to take when testing your alarms:

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and replace th

  • e batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.
  • Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. That’s because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time. Check the date of your smoke alarms and follow the instructions.
  • Practice your two-minute escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too l
  • ate. Include at least two ways to get out of every room and 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.

Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download our free Emergency App (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).

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