As people turn their clocks back this weekend for the end of daylight saving time, the American Red Cross asks everyone to also test their smoke alarms.

Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster and tragically take seven lives every day in this country.

“It’s critical to take action now to be as safe as possible as the threat of home fires increases with the holidays and cooler weather,” said Karen McCoy, Executive Director of the North Louisiana Chapter. “So far this year, Red Cross volunteers have responded to more than 1,200 home fires in Louisiana. These home fires affected nearly 4,500 individuals. The good news is that you can take a few simple steps this weekend to help protect your loved ones.”

During a fire, early warning from a working smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives. As the clocks “fall back” when daylight saving time ends on Sunday, Nov. 7, it’s also the perfect time to test your smoke alarms and replace the batteries if needed.

In addition to testing your smoke alarms this weekend, follow these three steps get your home ready:

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

Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Components such as sensors can become less sensitive over time. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.

Practice your two-minute home fire escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — that’s the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late. 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.

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