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Mark Jensen, Fargo, Published October 11 2013

Letter: Fire safety tips help save lives

The biggest disaster threat to families across our nation every day isn’t floods or hurricanes; it’s fire. Last year, the region responded to more than 150 fires. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to a home fire every nine minutes.

History has taught us that the incidence of home fires generally increases during the fall and winter months, and most commonly occurs on Saturdays and Sundays in the early evening.

During Fire Prevention Month, the American Red Cross is urging residents to take some simple steps to help minimize the risk for this type of devastating disaster:

E Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas; check them monthly by pressing the test button.

E Create a fire escape plan identifying two escape routes from every room of your home and designate a meeting place a short distance from the home where family members can meet should they be separated during a fire.

E Practice your escape plan at least twice a year, paying particular attention to children or older adults who may require extra time and care.

For more information on how to minimize the risk of home fires, I encourage people to visit www.redcross.org/homefires.

Jensen is board chairman, Red River Valley Chapter, American Red Cross.