Coronavirus has led to an increase in house fires. Here’s how to stay safe.

A mobile home fire in Davie on March 21. (American Red Cross)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – With people staying home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, South Florida has seen more house fires than usual, the American Red Cross says.

In the past 12 days, the Red Cross has responded to more than 30 home fires in the South Florida region and provided emergency assistance to 130 people.

“We understand this a difficult time for our community as they take precautionary measures to keep their loved ones safe, but fire safety should be one of those measures that are taken [into] account,” said Joanne Nowlin, CEO for the South Florida Red Cross. “Our Red Cross team members are responding to home fires at an alarming rate and we want to make sure everyone is taking the necessary steps to stay safe.”

The Red Cross offered these steps to prevent house fires:

  • Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  • Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
  • Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
  • Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire” to alert everyone that they must get out.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  • Teach household members to “Stop, Drop and Roll” if their clothes should catch on fire.

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