Did you know that many people don't test their smoke alarms as often as they should? When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. You need working smoke alarms to give you time to get out.
Test yours every month
Plan your escape
Your ability to get out of your house during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. Get everyone in your household together and make a home fire escape plan. Walk through your home and look for two ways out of every room. Make sure escape routes are clear of debris and doors and windows open easily. Windows with security bars or grills should have an emergency release device. Plan an outside meeting place where everyone will meet once they have escaped. A good meeting place is something permanent, like a tree, light pole, or mailbox a safe distance in front of the home. If there are infants, older adults, family members with mobility limitations or children who do not wake to the sound of the smoke alarm, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the event of an emergency. If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Respond quickly – get up and go, remember to know two ways out of every room, get yourself outside quickly, and go to your outside meeting place with your family.
Children and smoke alarms
The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) is aware of research indicating that sleeping children don't always awake when a smoke alarm activates. While this is a concern, we shouldn't allow this to obscure the fact that smoke alarms are highly effective at reducing fire deaths and injuries. Every home fire escape plan is different, and every family should know who will - and who will not - awaken at the sound of the smoke detector. It is recommended that you practice your home fire escape plan, at least once, at night while everyone is asleep. If someone doesn't wake up when the alarm sounds during a drill, the family should design an escape plan that assigns a grown-up who is easily awakened by the alarm to wake the heavy sleepers, perhaps by yelling "FIRE," pounding on the wall or door, or blowing a whistle.