(NC) Fire can spread rapidly through your home, and the National Fire Protection Association predicts you may only have as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once smoke alarms sound.
“We encourage everyone to evaluate their level of preparedness against potential dangers,” says Ashley Gocken of First Alert, a leading fire safety brand. “It’s imperative that people develop and practice a fire escape plan and install, maintain and regularly test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. These are life-saving practices that can make a real difference.”
To ensure you and your family are prepared and protected, follow these steps:
Check your alarms.
Early detection is critical to preventing tragedies. Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in every bedroom and on every level of your house, including the basement. Test them regularly and change the batteries every six months. To eliminate battery replacements for a decade, upgrade to 10-year battery alarms.
Map your home.
Involve everyone in your household when developing escape routes. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits. Identify two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Make sure everyone in the home understands the plan.
Practice your plan.
Conduct fire drills at least twice a year during the day and night, making it as realistic as possible. Allow children to master the fire escape routes beforehand. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.
Have a meeting location outside.
Choose a designated outside meeting place a safe distance from your home. Once you’re out, stay out. Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.
Find more home fire safety tips at firstalert.ca.