In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.

Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Smoke alarms give you an early warning, so you can get outside quickly.

SMOKE ALARM TIPS

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom. They should also be outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

IF THE ALARM SOUNDS

  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Never go back inside for people or pets.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to find your way out.
  • Call the fire department from outside your home.

GENERAL SAFETY TIPS

  • Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the plan with everyone in your home.
  • Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
  • Have an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.
  • Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.
  • Practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave.

U.S. fire departments respond to a home fire every 86 seconds. That’s over 1,000 fires a day. Home fires can occur for a variety of reasons, but many are preventable. Over 365,000 fires and 2,650 civilian deaths occur every year, resulting in $7 billion in property damage. Contact a local Prepared Agent to review your coverage needs today!