by Savannah Robinson, American Red Cross Field Office Coordinator 


VILSECK, Germany — National Fire Prevention Week is October 6 to 12, and the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria 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 Chelsea White, Regional Program Manager. “Home fires are most often caused by cooking and heating equipment, and we want everyone to stay safe. Please check that smoke alarms are installed on every level of your home, and practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in two minutes or less.”


PRACTICE YOUR PLAN AND TEST YOUR ALARMS: Fire Experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it is too late. Create a home fire escape plan with your household and practice it until everyone can escape in less than two minutes.


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


  • Select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front 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.


FIRE PREVENTION STARTS WITH EDUCATION: The Red Cross offers two free youth education classes that teach about home fires and how to be prepared for emergencies. We are providing these courses and programs so kids become advocates for all kinds of preparedness at home.


The American Red Cross Pillowcase Project is a free, interactive preparedness program designed for 3rd to 5th-graders. The program aims to increase awareness and understanding of natural hazards and teaches safety, emotional coping skills and personal preparedness.


Through instructor-led presentations, students learn the best ways to stay safe and how to create their own emergency supply kits by packing essential items in a pillowcase for easy transport during a disaster. Students also have the opportunity to decorate and personalize their pillowcases and share what they’ve learned with friends and family.


Prepare with Pedro is a 30- to 45-minute preparedness education program for grades K-2 that teaches students how to stay safe from either home fires or hurricanes. Prepare with Pedro compliments The Pillowcase Project in scope and mission, but follows the reading of a story that features a penguin named Pedro. Students learn a coping skill and receive a storybook to share what they have learned.


If you would like to schedule one of these classes, please contact


For free home fire safety resources, visit or download the free Red Cross Emergency App (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).