The American Red Cross will finish up its Fire Prevention Week on Saturday, October 9th. The group is encouraging people to make a pledge to prepare their families against home fires, the nation’s most frequent disaster. During Fire Prevention Week, the Red Cross urges everyone to take some time to develop fire-safe habits and home fire escape plans to help prevent fire tragedies.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, sponsor of Fire Prevention Week, home fires killed more than 2,770 people in the United States in 2019. That’s an average of seven lives each day, most often in homes without working smoke alarms.

Nearly all of us have engaged in ordinary activities that can cause home fires like walking out of the kitchen while cooking or leaving burning candles unattended. Because these behaviors are so common, the Red Cross works year-round to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries through home fire safety education programs.

Here’s what you can do to prepare:

Practice a 2-Minute Fire Drill

Create an escape plan with at least two ways to exit every room in your home. 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 knows to meet. Practice your escape plan until everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes.

Test Smoke Alarms Monthly

If they don’t sound when pressing the test button, change the batteries if the model requires it. If the alarms are 10 years or older, they likely need to be replaced. Make sure smoke alarms are installed on each level of the home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.

Learn how your family can prevent home fires, escape from a home fire in 2 minutes, and recover after a home fire by visiting the American Red Cross website.