Firefighters urge fire prevention as colder months near

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - It is Fire Prevention Month and the American Red Cross says, on average, seven people nationwide die daily from home fires.

Partnered with local firefighters, they are trying to spread awareness of how to prevent a fire.

If you are plugging in a lot of things are you find there are a lot more cables, make sure they're not running under any carpets or under any blankets that are left around.

The next thing that firefighters recommend is to make sure you're not overloading your outlets if you are going to use a space heater this winter, plug it directly into the wall and not into a power strip or extension cord.

Firefighters say the most important thing to do is to check the batteries in smoke detectors. Batteries should be replaced one to two times a year and if the machine itself is over 10 years old it should be replaced. The American Red Cross gives them away for free at getasmokealarm.org.

The Hastings Fire Department has given over 300 kids tours of their station this month and they are teaching them what to do in case of a fire.

“We always want to make sure there are two ways out of each room,” Fire Prevention Officer Troy Vorderstrasse said. “A lot of times they only have one door to their bedroom but we try to make sure they understand they can go out their window.”

The American Red Cross says that having a properly working smoke alarm doubles your chance of survival in a fire.

“Practice getting out of your home in two minutes or less,” Red Cross Central Nebraska Executive Director Rachelle Lipker said. “Most people think you have a lot longer than that. You actually have two minutes.”