October is Fire Safety Month- Smoke Alarms and Fire Escape Plans SAVE LIVES

 In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts, so you and your family must always be prepared.

 

Smoke alarms are required by your insurance. Since most fires start between midnight and 4 a.m., the key to survival is being awake and alert.

Working smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent. They are a critical first step for staying safe, but in order to be effective, they have to be working properly.

For the best protection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every sleeping area.

  • Install at least one smoke detector on each floor and one near each bedroom area.
  • Check detectors regularly to make sure they are working.
  • Change the batteries twice each year. An easy way to remember is to put in fresh batteries when you change the clocks in the spring and fall.
  • You can increase your chances of survival by creating a home escape plan and rehearsing it regularly. An escape plan should include multiple routes for leaving the home quickly with a designated spot for family members to meet.

This segment from NBC’s TODAY Show may surprise some parents, as it shows how kids can sleep right through the sound of a smoke alarm.

 

Carbon Monoxide

Fuel-powered devices can provide wonderful benefits to families when used properly. But they also underscore an important necessity in the home: the need for a carbon monoxide alarm.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or cars left running in garages. At its worst, carbon monoxide can cause severe side effects or even death.

Young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide because of their smaller bodies. Children process carbon monoxide differently than adults, may be more severely affected by it, and may show signs of poisoning sooner.  Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea and drowsiness.

Fire Escape Plan

Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames.

  • Create and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of your house in case of a fire.
  • Get a stopwatch and time how fast your family can escape. The kids will love it.
  • As part of your plan, designate one person to get infants and small children out safely.
  • Have a back-up plan for young children just in case the primary person is overcome by smoke.
  • Smoke is toxic. Teach children to “get low and go” if there is smoke when they are leaving the home.
  • Practice feeling the door, doorknob and cracks around the door with the back of your hand to see if they are too hot. Help your children practice this step.
  • Choose a place to meet outside that is a safe distance away from your home.

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