This week is Fire Prevention Week. This year’s campaign, “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape”, is focused on educating everyone about simple but important actions that can keep you and your loved ones safe from home fires.
Why is this important?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, today’s homes burn faster than ever. From the time a home fire triggers your smoke alarms to sound, you may have just two minutes or less to safely escape your home.
Two things are key to getting out of your house during a fire: the early warning from smoke alarms and planning in advance.
What do you need to know about smoke alarms?
Smoke alarms can sense smoke well before you can and alert you to danger. Here are some important things to know:
- Choose an alarm that is listed with a testing lab, so that you know it has met certain standards for protection.
Smoke alarms need to be in the following locations:
- In every bedroom (or sleeping room) and any room with access to that room
- In each hallway
- In living areas that are directly connected to the kitchen
- At least one on each level of your home, including the basement
Do NOT put smoke alarms in your kitchen or bathrooms, or in unfinished attics or garages, as these locations occasionally experience conditions that can result in improper operation, such as high heat or excessive steam.
Test your smoke alarms regularly by pushing the test button. Change the battery if it does not make a sound (or the sound is low).
Change the battery right away for any smoke alarm that makes a chirping sound.
If possible, have smoke detectors that are interconnected installed by a qualified electrician, so that when one sounds, they all sound. This ensures that you can hear the alarm no matter where in your home the alarm originates.
How should you plan in advance to help you escape from a fire?
It is very important for everyone to plan and practice a home fire escape. Everyone needs to be prepared so they know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds. Your plan will be specific to your home. Here are some things you should do to make your plan:
- Draw a simple map of your home, marking two different ways out of each room, including doors and windows, all the way to the outside. Share and discuss this map with all family members.
- Make sure all planned escape routes are always accessible and that doors and windows are easy to open.
- Plan on waking or helping anyone who might not be able to wake or escape on their own, such as young children, older adults, or people with disabilities. Each person should know who they are responsible for in advance.
- Make sure everyone in your home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and what to do when it sounds.
- Pick an outside meeting place that is a safe distance away from the house, such as a neighbor’s house, or a specific tree, for everyone to meet after they escape the house.
- Practice this plan regularly with your family. Practice at different times of day or night. Practice using the different escape routes marked. Start with planned practices, then move to unannounced practice. Share your home escape plans with overnight guests.
For more information use this link: Fire Prevention Week (FPW) (nfpa.org)
If you have any questions about Fire Prevention Week, please log into your account and send us your question. We are here to help.
Dr. Anita Bennett MD – Health Tip Content Editor