Tips to Prevent, Detect and Escape Home Fires

Smoke detector
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so go ahead and test your smoke detector once a month to make sure it does its job.


Detecting a small fire from spreading begins with installing a smoke detector and testing it often.

Each month, press and hold the “test” button on a smoke detector to make sure the alarm goes off. Replace batteries if the alarm doesn’t work, or if the batteries are more than a year old — then test again. Some smoke alarms have lithium-ion batteries that can last up to 10 years; it’s still important to regularly test those devices.

Always write the date the battery was replaced on the battery or on a piece of tape stuck to the back of the alarm. It’s also a good idea to periodically blow out your home’s smoke alarms with canned air to remove dust. And replace any alarms that are older than 10 years.

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An emergency exit sign in a public building
Regular fire drills for the whole family are necessary at home. In addition, identify all fire exits in public buildings in case of emergencies.


Finally, there’s the escape plan. Typically, you have just one to two minutes to safely escape a house fire, so it’s important to set fire drills before an emergency strikes.

This is especially important in households with large families — practice the escape plan regularly and use a stopwatch to time how long it takes to ensure everyone is out of the home.

Even if you’re visiting a friend’s home, always be aware of your surroundings and look for available exits so you can plan an escape in case of emergencies.

Stay safe, everyone!

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