National fire prevention week is Oct. 6-12, and the Minnesota Region of the American Red Cross urges everyone to practice their home fire escape plan and test their smoke alarms.

“During fire prevention week, prepare your family for home fires before the holidays and cold weather increase the risk of these crises,” said Leah Pockrandt, executive director of the American Red Cross serving southwest Minnesota. “Home fires are most often caused by cooking and heating equipment, and we want everyone to stay safe. Please install and test smoke alarms on every level of your home, and practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in two minutes or less.” 

The public is reminded to practice their fire safety escape plan and to test alarms in the home.

The following tips are encouraged as part of the escape plan:

• Include at least two ways to get out of each room in your home.

• Select a spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your yard, where everyone can meet.

• Practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in two minutes or less.

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

• Test smoke alarms monthly, and change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.

Home fires take seven lives each day in the U.S., most often in homes without working smoke alarms.

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Also as part of fire prevention week, the Redwood Falls Fire Department will offer educational opportunities to students, as well as for the public as a whole during an open house.

That event is being held today (Oct. 10) from 5-7 p.m. at the fire station.

During the event, a smoke room will be offered for kids, with North Ambulance and North Air Care also on hand. Refreshments are also being served during the open house. All are encouraged to attend.