Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to note that the Red Cross responds to 43% more home fires during winter months. We regret the error.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – This is the week to test a home’s fire escape plan and smoke detectors.

The American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas recognizes Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 9-15. The agency stated that this week homeowners should take two minutes to test readiness for a fire emergency.

The Red Cross recommends that all families practice the home’s fire escape plan for two minutes. The agency stated that two minutes is what fire experts say someone would have to escape a home fire.

This is also the time to check the home’s smoke detectors.

Red Cross stated that the Arkansas-Missouri region responds to 43% more home fires during winter months.

“As the threat of home fires increases with colder temperatures, Fire Prevention Week serves as an important reminder to prepare now,” Chris Harmon, Regional Disaster Officer said. “Practice your two-minute home fire escape drill and test your smoke alarms monthly to help keep your family safe.”

The Red Cross offers these tips for fire planning:

  • Include 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 a landmark like a specific tree in your front yard.
  • Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Check the manufacturer’s date of your smoke alarms. They likely need to be replaced if they are 10 years or older.
  • Tailor your escape plan to the needs of everyone in your household. If you or a loved one is deaf or hard of hearing, install strobe lights and bed-shaker alarms to help alert to fire.

Additional information and tips are available from the Red Cross.