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Red Cross Offers Home Fire Safety Tips

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More than 2,300 people die and nearly 13,000 are injured annually in home fires across the United States.

With that statistic in mind, the American Red Cross is kicking off a national campaign this month to reduce deaths and injuries from house fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.

Anne Marie Borrego of the American Red Cross says while installing smoke detectors and regularly changing batteries is an important component of fire safety, your family's escape plan is just as important.

"I would say if there's one thing you can do today it's to go home and really practice that escape plan," she says. "I can't emphasize enough how important it is to sit down and talk with your family and actually see how long it's going to take you to get out of your home."

A recent Red Cross survey found people believe they have more time than they do to escape a burning home. Fire experts estimate people have as little as two minutes to escape, while 62 percent of respondents believe they have at least five minutes.

According to a National Fire Protection Association survey, nearly seven in 10 parents believed their children knew what to do if their house caught on fire, but less than one in five families with children have practiced home fire drills. Less than half of them have talked with their children about fire safety.

Borrego says fire safety is a conversation worth having with your kids.

"My advice would be to do it in a very matter-of-fact manner," says Borrego. "It's important to talk with them about the need to prepare, just in case, and to reassure them that mom and dad are doing this just so everyone stays safe."

The NFPA recommends smoke alarms installed inside every bedroom and on every level of a home.

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