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Fire Prevention Week, Have A Plan To Get Out, Check Smoke Alarms

By:John Moore
Getty Images News

Fire Prevention Week is Oct 8th through the 14th. One thing that is stressed by fire prevention officials, check your smoke alarms and replace batteries. Most people don’t bother to check them they wait till they chirp, then put new batteries in. Fire officials stress that may be too late, it might not chirp.

According to a checklist from the National Fire Prevention Association, you should have a smoke alarm on every level, and even in every room. You should check it at least once a year but it is better to remember in the spring and fall.

Here’s something that shocked me. I was checking my home a few years ago, and I consider myself proactive, I was checking the alarms and noticed how old and dead the batteries were. How could I let them go so long? After that, I didn’t even check the batteries, I automatically changed all the batteries. This list said to get new smoke alarms every ten years. I wondered how could I check them? Right on the alarm itself is a date. I had smoke alarms on my main floor and 2 of 3 were one year away from me needing a new one. I usually check the smoke alarms every year, but because of this checklist, I noticed how long they had been hanging there.

I urge you to check all the alarms in your house and change them out every ten years.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, this years theme is Every second counts, plan two ways out. In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

  • Draw a map of your home by using their grid in English (PDF) or Spanish (PDF) with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

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