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Protecting your Family from Fire: Smoke Alarms and Home Escape Plans


Throughout Fire Prevention Week, I’ve reflected on the changes in how we prepare for and prevent fires, as well as the importance of properly using a fire extinguisher. To wrap up the week, I wanted to remind you that protecting your family and home from fire all begins with prevention.

Have working smoke alarms in your home

Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms are one of the best and least expensive means of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire and could reduce the risk of dying from a fire in your home by almost half.

 A smoke alarm stands guard around the clock and when it first senses smoke, sounds a shrill alarm. This often allows a family the precious but limited time it takes to escape.

Here are some key reminders for placing and maintaining the smoke alarms in your residence:

  • Replace smoke alarms no later than ten years after their installation.
  • The U.S. Fire Administration also recommends that you have smoke alarms inside and outside of bedrooms, on every level in your home, and interconnected so that when one smoke alarm sounds they will all sound.
  • Test your smoke alarms every month.

Review and practice your fire escape plan regularly

When making a fire escape plan, it’s important to:
  • Discuss the plan with everyone in your household, especially family members who cannot escape unassisted.
  • Plan two ways out of every room.
  • Designate an outside meeting place, away from your home, but where the firefighters can see that you are out and safe.
  • Practice your escape plan every month at least twice a year with everyone in your home. Practice at night and during the daytime.
 In case a fire does occur, remember to:
  • Leave your home.
  • Call the fire department from outside using a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone.
  • Get out and stay out! Never return to a burning building!
Following these two steps – maintaining smoke alarms around your home and reviewing/practicing your fire escape plan – will go a long way in preventing the loss of life and property from fire.

I encourage you to share this information with family, loved ones and friends and emphasize the importance of fire prevention – it could save your life, or that of someone you love.

For more information on smoke alarms and fire escape planning, and help in identifying potential fire hazards in your home, visit the To learn more about resources for sharing fire safety, and for free publications, visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s website.

Last Updated: 
06/02/2017 - 09:31