Fires are the fifth most common cause of accidental death in the U.S. (CDC 2005), killing more than 4,000 Americans each year. Sadly, many of these deaths could have been prevented if only a few simple preventative measures had been taken. Detection devices and a well-rehearsed escape plan could be the difference between life and death, so be sure to share these guidelines with your family:
Smoke detectors can save lives; but only if they work and can be heard.
- Be sure to place smoke detectors on every level of your home, and especially in sleeping areas.
- Smoke rises, so alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings according to package instructions.
- Be sure to change batteries twice a year; many people choose to do it the weekend of the switch from standard time to daylight-savings time, and vice-versa so they don't forget!
- Test each smoke alarm in your home on a monthly basis to make sure the device is functioning properly.
- Smoke detectors are not meant to last forever: detectors should be replaced at least every ten years.
- When you purchase an alarm, look for the ETL, UL, or CSA mark on the box; this certifies that the alarm has been lab-tested for safety.
If a fire occurs in your home, detection alone is not enough. Your family should have a Fire Escape Plan to ensure the safety of all family members.
- Practice the escape plan during both daylight hours and after dark.
- If your residence is more than one story in height, keep a fire escape ladder in or near each bedroom above the ground floor.
- If you live in a multiple-story dwelling and have an infant or young child who may not be able to negotiate a ladder, you should consider investing in a Baby Rescue; this flame-retardant, ventilated bag with a 50-foot-long tether is designed to allow you to get your kids out of the window and lower them down outside the building to safety. It is patented by Safety International, LLC and approved for children weighing up to 75lbs.
- Be sure to stress to all family members that in the event of a fire, no one should try to save valuables; doing so could cost them their life.
Be sure to visit the U.S. Fire Administration homepage for additional information regarding fire safety. They have a vast collection of information, including Kids Pages, Fire Statistics, Prevention Campaigns, and a searchable listing of Fire-Safe Hotels/Motels!
- Destination Mom