Fire kills more Americans every year than all other natural disasters combined. If that didn?t get your attention, the U.S. Fire Administration also tells us that fire is the third leading cause of accidental death in the home. 4,300 people die in fires every year in the United States, and 27,000 more are injured.
To make your home fire safe, you should follow these guidelines:
- Put a smoke alarm next to or in each bedroom, and one on each additional level of your home.
- Test your smoke alarms monthly.
- Replace batteries promptly when needed, and replace the batteries in all of your smoke detectors once a year.
- Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.
- Get several fire extinguishers for your home. Your local fire department can make sure that you and your family all know how to use them.
- You could even put an automatic sprinkler system in your home.
But what if, despite all these precautions, you still awoke to find your home in flames? Would you be able to get your family out in time? Most people think they can, but very few actually have a fire escape plan for the whole family. Here?s how you can put one together:
- Plan everyone?s escape route in advance. Find at least two ways to get out of every room. If some of those rooms are on the second or third floor, buy an escape ladder for each one and learn how to use it.
- If your home is on fire, feel the door for heat before opening it. If it?s warm, take the window route.
- If you have to exit through smoke, stay as low as possible and crawl to safety.
- If all of your routes are blocked by smoke, heat, or flames, keep the door closed and signal out of your window. If you he a phone, call the fire department.
- Pick a place outside your home to meet once your family has escaped. Call the fire department from a neighbor?s phone. - Stay out of your house. The only people who should approach a burning home are firemen.
- Practice your plan at least twice a year with everyone in your family.
If you follow these guidelines, your home will be protected against fire and most importantly, so will your family?s lives.