GREENVILLE S.C. (WSPA) – National Fire Prevention Week is reserved for October 8 -14. Red Cross and local fire departments are raising awareness and providing safety education to the community. 

According to the American Red Cross Upstate Region Chapter, home fires are the most frequent disaster that red cross responds to with nearly 500 in the Upstate just last year. 

They recommend people to test their smoke alarms once a month but at minimum twice a year. 

 ARC South Carolina Executive Director, Jamie Raichel, said a working smoke alarm can increase your chances of survival during a home fire by 50 percent. 

“We started our home fire campaign in 2014 and across South Carolina we have documented 146 lives that have been saved because of working smoke alarms that the Red Cross and our partners have installed,” said Raichel. 

Raichel said cooking accidents and smoking inside the home are the most common causes for a house fire. 

“Also keep everything, whether it’s furniture cords 3 feet away from a heating source,” said Raichel.

Raichel also suggested keeping matches and lighters away from areas easily accessible to children. Another way to think ahead in case of an emergency is to have a home fire escape plan drawn and communicated with your family. 

“Draw it out on a piece of paper and make it a fun family event. Make sure there are at least two ways to escape a room in your fire escape plan and if you have someone sleeping in a room where there aren’t two ways to escape, I highly recommend you rethink where people are sleeping,” said Raichel. 

According to Raichel, two minutes is the estimated time to get out of a home safely once it’s on fire. 

American Red Cross Upstate Region and local fire departments safety education session schedule:

  • Easley Fire Department- Thursday, Oct.12th  5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at 1089 S. Pendleton St., Easley, SC 29642
  • Lowe’s Annual Safety Day (Greenville Co.) Saturday, Oct. 14th 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 1900 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC 29609

The Upstate Chapter provides smoke alarm installations and free testing by appointment only. To learn more about other resources, click here.