You only have 60 seconds to escape a house fire. Could you do it?
Take a few steps back and imagine you’re cooking dinner in the kitchen, and you look up to realize your entire house engulfed in smoke. Now imagine you only have One Minute to scoop everyone up (including pets) to escape. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reports that most people only have ONE MINUTE to escape a house fire.
You need every single second of that minute and chances are everyone is on different levels or in opposite rooms. Little Johnny is in the game room with his Xbox headset on and can’t hear a thing; Susie was playing with her dolls under her bed and fell asleep and the cat is hidden in someone’s closet under sweaters. You get the picture. Time is precious in the case of a house fire.
The best way for early fire detection is a smoke alarm.
So, how are YOUR smoke alarms doing?
According to the NFPA, every 3 of 5 home-fire deaths result from fires in homes with NO smoke alarms or worse yet, NO alarm at all! They also reported that batteries were missing, disconnected or simply dead because they were not replaced. On average, 7 people die per day in U.S. home fires with most house fires occurring during the holiday months.
The following tips could save your life:
Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, including basement and outside the rooms where people sleep. The NFPA also recommends installing additional smoke alarms inside each bedroom and sleeping area. Smoke rises, so mount them on ceilings or as high as you can go on a wall/above a door.
Install a smoke alarm within 10 feet of your kitchen
Change your smoke alarms every 8-10 years.
Replace batteries at a minimum every year, or buy lithium batteries that can last up to 8-10 years. (These still need to be tested though)
Test your alarms once a month. There are two ways to test your alarms. Push the test button to make sure the alarm goes off. Also, you need to test your smoke sensors. Simply do a smoke test by lighting a candle, blow it out, and hold your alarm over the smoke. Did it go off? If not, your sensors may be covered in dust or not working. REPLACE IT!
Buy extra batteries that fit your smoke alarms and designate these batteries only for your smoke alarms. When you hear a smoke alarm chirping, that is the warning sound your batteries are low or not working. Grab your designated batteries and replace them asap. Also, while you are up there, test your smoke sensors too (see tip above).
Make sure everyone in your home knows the sound of your smoke alarm and what to do.
Have an escape plan. For free help with a plan, go to www.homefiredrill.org
The average cost of a smoke alarm is $10. If you cannot afford a smoke alarm or cannot maintain your smoke alarm (you have no one to help you change the batteries or climb a ladder), you can call your local fire department or go to https://getasmokealarm.org/ with assistance in obtaining a smoke alarm. Stay safe!