Fire Safety, Prevention and Smoke Alarms

Fire safety and prevention reduces the chance of death, injury or property damage. During a fire, you may have as little as 2 minutes to escape. An early warning from a smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan can save lives.

The American Red Cross recommends the following for fire safety in your home:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, especially in bedrooms. 
  • Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • Have at least one fire extinguisher in your home on every floor.
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP.
  • Never go back inside for anything or anyone.

Fire Safety Equipment For Your Home

Staying safe from fires at home begins with you and proper prevention is crucial. Here are the essential items you need to help you with fire safety.

Smoke Alarms

According to the Red Cross, if you have a fire, smoke alarms can cut nearly in half your risk of dying in a fire. Smoke alarms sense smoke or combustion gases in the air. They can detect both smoldering and flaming fires.

  • In new homes: The National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72) requires hard-wired, interconnected smoke alarms with battery back-up on every level of the home, outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom. Alarms must be wired together so that if one sounds, they all sound.
  • In existing homes: If smoke alarms are not already in place, at a minimum install them on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. If a fire occurs inside a bedroom, dangerous gases can cause heavier sleep. For the best protection, install interconnected smoke alarms in each bedroom and throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Use the test button to test your smoke alarms at least monthly. 
  • If you have battery-powered smoke alarms, replace the batteries at least once a year and replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarm at the same time.
  • Smoke Alarms Are Inexpensive: A basic battery operated smoke alarm is around $8. You can usually find them at Lowes and Home Depot from $6-$30.

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Major Brands Of Smoke Alarms

When it comes to fire safety, I advise to stick with the well known brands. That is First Alert and Kidde. There are other brands out there, but do your research.

First Alert: First Alert makes the BRK brand and the ONELINK line of wireless, talking units. Products include plug-in, battery, hardwired and hardwired with battery-backup units. First Alert also makes alarms that detect carbon monoxide and smoke as well as dual sensor units, which combine ionization and photoelectric technologies. You can find First Alert smoke alarms at Lowes.

Kidde: Kidde makes FireX brand, Nighthawk and Silhouette. Nighthawk comes in plug-in and battery operated units. The Silhouette line comes in hardwired units and features a sealed, self-charging lithium battery that lasts for the life of the unit. Kidde also offers combination units, which have a smoke detector feature in addition to the carbon monoxide detector. You can find Kidde smoke alarms at Home Depot.

Fire Extinguishers

At least one fire extinguisher: A fire extinguisher rated “A-B-C” is recommended for home use. Many fire extinguisher models are designed for one-time use and cannot be recharged .

Install extinguishers high on the wall, near an exit, and away from heat sources. Extinguishers should be easily accessible.Heat may make the contents less effective or cause the extinguisher to lose its charge more quickly.

Remember PASS: When using a fire extinguisher, pull, aim, squeeze, sweep.

Fast Facts About Home Fires

Fires Can Get Very

During a fire, room temperatures can be 100 degrees at the floor level and up to 600 degrees at eye level. If you inhale this hot air, your lungs will be scorched and clothes will be melted to your skin!

Fire Is Fast

Fire spreads fast. In under 30 seconds, a small flame can become a big fire. It also doesn’t take very long for thick black smoke to fill a house, or for the house to become taken over by flames.

Fire Is Deadly

Inhaling the gases from fires will cause disorientation and drowsiness and it is extremely toxic. Smoke & toxic gases from the fire kill people more than flames do. Asphyxiation is the number one cause of fire deaths.

Keep Your Home and Family Safe From Fire

Fire Prevention Month Is October, and it’s the perfect time to review and practice your family’s fire safety and escape plan.

In 1922, the National Fire Protection Association named the second week of October Fire Prevention Week in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Fire Prevention Week and Month helps to raise fire safety awareness and educates families, students and communities across the United States.

First Alert Fire Safety Facts:

  • 3 of every 5 home fire deaths resulted from fires with no working smoke alarms.
  • Less than 50% of homeowners have an escape plan.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is the #1 cause of accidental death.
  • 60% of consumers do not test their smoke and CO alarms monthly.
  • Only 47% of people report having CO alarms in their home.
  • Just 43% of homeowners have an escape plan.

The No. 1 rule if a fire happens in your home: Get out, stay out and call for help. Never go back inside for anyone or anything. Call the fire department from outside your home. Take this opportunity to discuss fire safety with your family.