- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
Most families have smoke detectors on the main level of their home but it's important to have them installed on every floor. Having a detector in your basement and attic is a great way to catch a fire early and escape safely. Clothing driers have lint traps that are notorious for catching on fire. Lint is incredibly flammable and when it builds up in your lint trap can easily ignite from static electricity. Keep a smoke detector near your washer and dryer for early fire detection.
- Test smoke alarms every month.
WRITE IT IN YOUR CALENDAR! Testing smoke alarms on a monthly basis is one of the easiest ways you can save your loved ones from a fire. If you're anything like me and burn food once a month, you may not have to check the one in your kitchen. The others though, need a little more attention. Don't forget, if your smoke detectors were purchased at different times or are different brands they may require different batteries. Some are AA, AAA or 9volt batteries. Having them on hand in your home will help you stay on top of this.
- Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
Having a plan can be as simple as creating a meeting spot outside if a fire ever breaks out. Twice a year seems excessive but when a house is on fire, everyone is panicking. Your family needs to know the plan and know it well. Sometimes certain escape routes like front and back doors aren't safe to use so having a meetup spot in case a family member uses a window to escape is critical. Whether it's a tree in the back yard or the mailbox out front, any place away from the house to get a head count of people still in the house will help you and firefighters know what to do next. Use these questions to help form a plan:
What landmark is far enough away from the house to safely meet at?
Who is in charge of the family pets?
Is everyone's windows free from obstructions for a safe escape?
What door should every person try to exit from first?
You can never be too safe when it comes to house fires. Contact your local fire department for their average response time to your address and make sure small children all understand your family's escape plan.