You and your family are fast asleep when the smoke alarm sounds:
It’s the middle of the night, the house is dark. Everyone is asleep in their beds when suddenly the smoke alarm sounds. The smell of smoke is heavy in the air. What do you do? Does your family know what to do?
Fire Safety Home Escape Plan
If you and your family don’t have a plan in place, it could jeopardize your safety, or even prove deadly.
In a typical house fire, you may have as little as 1-2 minutes to escape safely from the time that the smoke alarm sounds.
My husband is a firefighter he can not stress enough the importance of having a home escape plan. It is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.
Developing and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory. That pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.
Every Second Counts! Plan Two Ways Out
October is National Fire Prevention Month. Fire Prevention Week this year is October 8th-14th.
In support of Fire Prevention Week, develop a plan together and practice it.
A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas.
According to NFPA, roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 P.M -7 A.M when most people are asleep. Having working smoke alarms in and around sleeping areas saves lives.
A home escape plan also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole, or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home.
NFPA offers these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a fire safety home escape plan:
- Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave — this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
Smoke Alarms Help Save Lives
Smoke spreads fast during a fire. Smoke alarms alert us to a fire allowing us time to get out. The NFPA says that having a working smoke alarm cuts your risk of dying in a reported fire in half. In half just by making sure that you have a working smoke alarm!
Learn all about smoke alarm safety with this trivia quiz. Be sure to share your results!
Help with the cost of smoke alarms.
Is there help available with the cost of smoke alarms? Yes, there is. Check with your local Fire Department to see if there are free or low-cost smoke alarms available. If your Fire Department does not offer the program they may be able to guide you to an organization that does.
Monthly checks of smoke alarms – What am I looking for?
- You are looking for the manufacture date. Smoke detectors have an expiration date of 10 years.
- You are testing the smoke alarm.
- You are looking for dust or cobwebs that may be blocking the sensors. Which can prevent it from working even if the batteries are new.
How often do batteries need to be changed in a smoke alarm?
Battery-powered: This type is most susceptible to bad and worn-out batteries. Monthly testing is critical. Remember never to put old batteries into your smoke detector. Source
Hard-wired: Hardwired detectors are powered by your home electrical system, but they usually have backup batteries so the device can remain operational in a power outage. Hardwired smoke detectors still require regular monthly testing to ensure that both batteries and parts are functioning properly.
Where should smoke alarms be placed?
Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations. Source
To learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out” and home escape planning, visit firepreventionweek.org.
Remember: In a typical house fire, you may have as little as 1-2 minutes to escape safely from the time that the smoke alarm sounds. Having a home escape plan so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.
Let’s talk: In the comment section answer these questions about your family and smoke alarms.
- Do your children know what a smoke alarm sounds like?
- Does everyone know what to do if the smoke alarm goes off?
- Do you have an escape plan?
- Do you practice monthly fire drills with your family?