Tips to Keep your family safe incase of a Fire
Fire is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). While there are many safety measures that you can take to protect yourself, including installing smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in your home and practicing fire drills with your children, there's one thing that people often forget, testing your smoke detectors and having a fire escape plan incase of a fire emergency.
How often should you test them? That depends on several factors. If you have central air conditioning or heat that automatically kicks on when it senses smoke, then it may be best to test them once a month. Monthly tests are ideal because this allows homeowners time to notice any problems before they become serious issues. Here's what else you need to know about checking your home's safety against fire hazards:
Check your Smoke Alarms Monthly
If you have a hardwired smoke alarm, check the wiring and make sure that there are no exposed wires. If you have a battery-operated smoke alarm, replace the batteries. If you have a combination smoke alarm (a type of device that combines both smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector), replace the batteries for both devices.
Make sure you have enough Smoke Alarms in your home
Smoke alarms, like all electrical devices, have a lifespan. The average smoke alarm lasts about 10 years, but there are other factors that will shorten or extend the life of your smoke detector. If you have an old home with original wiring from the 1970s or 1980s, it's likely that some of your smoke detectors are older than that and need to be replaced.
Any time you see signs of wear on your existing smoke alarms (mushroom-like growth around the base of the device or discoloration to its cover), it's time to replace them with new ones.
How many? Most people need at least one in every bedroom and hallway in their home. Some people install them in kitchens just to be safe. You can never have enough to help keep your family safe.
Have a Fire Escape Plan
- As a homeowner, you should have a fire escape plan.
- Practice your plan with everyone in your household.
- Make sure everyone knows the plan and can get out of the house in case of an emergency. A good way to do this is to practice going through it once or twice a year or when there’s a change in people living in your home (e.g., a new baby).
- Have fire extinguishers throughout the home: one in the kitchen and one near each bedroom door; also have one outside near the furnace room or basement entrance.
Teach Children what to do in case of a Fire
The most important thing you can do is teach your kids what to do in case of a fire. Teach them to get out, stay out and call 9-1-1 from a safe place.
Teach them to stay low to the ground, crawl and avoid smoke. Remind them not to stop and play in the hallways. Show them what it looks like when smoke comes through an open door or window by blowing gently on a piece of paper until it smokes up.
Also teach your kids what a real fire alarm sounds like so they don't mistake it for their toy whistle or something else that makes noise.
Fire safety is important for everyone, but especially for children and the elderly. If you have elderly or children living in your home, ensure your smoke detectors are working properly. Keeping regular checks on your smoke alarms can help protect and keep your family safe.