It is important to know how to best protect your family in the event of a fire in your home. It only takes a few simple steps to ensure your family stays safe:
- Make sure that your smoke alarm system is in working order.
You should test all of your smoke alarms every month by simply pressing the test button. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends putting a smoke alarm inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area, as well as installing alarms on every floor of your home, including the basement.
- Devise an escape plan and practice it.
Every family needs to have a fire safety action plan. The plan should include multiple ways for family members to escape the home and a designated meeting place. Make sure that every family member knows the plan by practicing it during the day and at night.
- Never go back into a burning building.
Once you have escaped, do not return to your home for other people or pets. Call the fire department after you have safely left the house.
Thanks to smoke alarms, Americans are safer than they’ve ever been. According to NFPA, deaths from home fires dropped to a new low in 2012, when the estimated home fire death toll of 2,380 was 54% lower than 5,200 in 1980.
And the design of smoke alarms continues to improve, with new innovations including wireless technology and alternate signal noises that are easier for children and seniors to hear.
Fire Sprinklers in Homes
Many state and local governments have decided to remove mandatory requirements for residential sprinklers in all new homes and to leave them as a choice for the home owner. Still, residential sprinkler advocates and other coalition groups continue to pressure officials to create mandatory fire sprinkler requirements.
If you're building a new home, your builder can arrange for the installation of sprinkler systems. But it’s important to note that installing these systems cannot guarantee anyone’s safety. And maintaining these systems, especially for home owners in cold climates, can be costly and time-consuming.
It's important for every household to have a fire safety action plan, and to have the right to choose for themselves which type of preventative device they want to use.