WAYNE & PIKE -The American Red Cross will help families and businesses learn how to protect themselves and others from fires in observance of National Fire Prevention Week Oct. 7-13. The Red Cross responded to about 63,000 home fires across the country last year, providing comfort and basic necessities to more than 82,000 families. Jim Rienhardt, executive director of the Poconos and Wayne Pike Red Cross chapters said the Red Cross responds to about one home fire every nine minutes across the country. Rienhardt said the best way to protect people in the home is to install a smoke alarm and practice a fire escape. Additional recommendations include: • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and in each bedroom. • Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. • Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button. • Ensure that household members know two ways to escape from every room and designate a place to meet outside of your home in case of a fire. Practice your plan at least twice a year. • Follow the escape plan in case of fire. • Get out, stay out and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. • Download the American Red Cross First Aid App to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies. The app is available in the http://itunes.apple.com/US/app/first-aid-by-american-red-cross/id529160691?mt=8 Apple App Store and on https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cube.arc.fa Google Play for Android. For additional fire safety tips, visit www.redcross.org/homefires Businesses should be prepared too. According to the Red Cross, fires are the most common of all business disasters. According to the United State Fire Association, non-residential building fires resulted in $2.4 billion in losses in 2010. Companies, schools and other organizations can learn how to prepare for fires and other emergencies by becoming a member of the Red Cross Ready Rating™ Program at www.readyrating.org. Complete a free, online assessment of your current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness. In addition to helping families and businesses prepare their homes and facilities for potential fires, the Red Cross is there to help those in need when fires break out. The Poconos and Wayne Pike Red Cross chapters responded to a combined 44 home fires last year. Rienhardt said the Red Cross depends on the generous support of individuals and businesses in the community. To make a donation visit redcross.org, click on the Donate button and select “Your Local Red Cross” or make a check payable to American Red Cross and mail to your local Red Cross.” The addresses are as follows: Poconos Red Cross, 410 Park Ave., Stroudsburg, PA 18360; and Wayne Pike Red Cross, 8 Silk Mill Dr., Ste. 204, Hawley, PA 18428.