Cooler weather is here: Time to practice fire safety

Published 10:10 am Tuesday, October 10, 2023

This week is Fire Prevention Week, the annual push for fire safety and awareness of what families can do in their homes to prevent fires and protect themselves from tragedy.
It’s that time of year, when thermostats are switched from COOL to HEAT and when fires are more apt to occur.
The National Fire Protection Agency in addressing Fire Prevention Week said: “Today’s homes burn faster than ever. You may have as little as two minutes, or even less time, to safely escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Your ability to get out of a home during a fire depends on early warning from smoke alarms and advance planning.”
Some fire safety tips offered by the NFPA include:
– Make sure your plan meets the needs of all your family members, including those with sensory and/or physical disabilities, infants and young children, older adults, pets, and any others who may need some extra help.
– Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
– Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows open easily, while still ensuring that windows do not create a fall hazard for young children at any other time.
– Have an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home where everyone should meet.
– Practice your home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the household, including guests. Practice at least once during the day and at night.
– If anyone in your household is deaf or hard of hearing, install strobe lights and bed-shaker alarms to alert to a fire. When practicing an escape plan, include any devices or people that can help everyone to get out safely.
Having a plan and knowing what to do in case of a home fire greatly increases the chances of getting out safely. Additionally, having working smoke detectors in the home cuts the risk of dying in home fires in half.
In addition, the National Fire Prevention Association also offers these reminders about smoke alarms:
– Place smoke alarms on each level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
– Test alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.
– Check the manufacturer’s date of smoke alarms. If they’re 10 years or older, they likely need to be replaced because components such as batteries can become less reliable. Follow the alarm’s manufacturer instructions.
During this week as many fire companies open their doors to tours and reinforce fire safety, take some time to monitor safety and preparedness in your home. Ensuring that smoke alarms are working and practicing an escape plan are a good place to start.
Finally, make sure there are no papers, clothing or other items on or next to your heating vents.
The tragedies of fire losses are heartbreaking. Let’s prepare for a safe fall and winter season.

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