More than 3,400 Americans die each year in fires and approximately 17,500 are injured. An overwhelming number of fires occur in the home. There are time-tested ways to prevent and survive a fire. It’s not a question of luck. It’s a matter of planning ahead.
Every Place Should Have at Least One Working Smoke Alarm
Buy a smoke alarm at any hardware or discount store. It’s inexpensive protection for you, your family and workarea. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your surrounding environment; weather it is a home or industry. A working smoke alarm can double your chances of survival. Test it monthly, keep it free of dust and replace the battery at least once a year. Smoke alarms themselves should be replaced after ten years of service, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Here are some fire safety tips to remember when you are practicing your plan.
Escape Plan Essentials:
• Always have at least two ways out of each room, such as doors and windows.
• Make sure that all exits are clear and working. If doors or windows are blocked by items such as boxes or furniture, someone, especially young children, may not be able to move them quickly enough to escape. Test your windows to make certain that they are not stuck shut and screens are removable from the inside. If your windows have bars on the outside, find out if they can be opened during an emergency and if not, have them retrofitted to be opened from inside.
• Teach children how to unlock and open the window in case they ever need to get out. If a screen is on the outside, demonstrate how they can remove it.
• Choose a meeting place where members of your family can assemble once you get out. This location should be safely accessible for all members. For example, if small children are in the family, choose a location where they would not have to cross the street, such as the mailbox, a tree in the yard, or the neighbor’s fence.
• Practice your plan at least twice a year. Make sure that you have also practiced at night because some family members may not wake up to the smoke alarm and the exits are more difficult to find by feeling your way through the dark.
• Call your local fire department and notify them about any special circumstances within your home, such as two babies in one room, someone with a physical disability, or any person with special needs. This ensures the information is available to them before an emergency happens. Also share this information with your neighbors so they may inform the police and fire department in the event of an emergency.
• Once everyone gets out, make sure that they stay out!