Did you know, eighty percent of Americans don’t realize home fires are the most common disaster in the nation? In a typical year, home fires claim more lives than all natural disasters combined. Yet only 26 percent of families have made and practiced their home fire escape plans.
When a fire happens every second counts! Experts say that you may have two minutes or less to escape your home in the event of a fire. This is why it is so important to practice with all the members of your household what to do in the event of a home fire. It is also important to make sure you have the proper amount of smoke alarms in your home to alert you of smoke or a fire.
Smoke detectors should be on every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside sleeping areas. You should replace smoke alarms that are older than ten years. You should test your smoke alarms once a month and change the batteries once a year if required.
In addition to maintaining smoke alarms, you should practice your home fire escape plan with everyone in your household at least twice a year. Discuss with household members two ways out of every room in your home. Also, decide together on a meeting spot outside your home where household members can meet once they have escaped the fire. A meeting spot should be a safe distance away from your home, such as a landmark in your yard, a mailbox, or a neighbor’s home.
Once you have decided how you will escape and where to meet, practice the plan and try to escape in under two minutes. Practice at different times during the day and start in different rooms to get familiar with what to do at all times. Make sure to practice the plan with everyone in your household, including pets! Explain how important it is to practice and be able to escape quickly. A few minutes of preparation now, can have immeasurable benefits in the future.