Only half of parents say their kids would know what to do in a fire—and even fewer have ever practiced an escape plan. Learn the surprisingly simple ways to stop a fire from starting and safeguard your loved ones.
Add these check-ins to your calendar, and follow these tips to keep your home and family prepared in case of a fire.
Identify Household Fire Hotspots
Learn all the hot spots around the house and how to hatch an escape plan. Install a smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of your home. Then keep this room-specific advice in mind: Room by Room Fire Hotspots.
Make a Family Fire Plan
Craft an exit strategy that gets your family out of the house as safely and quickly as possible. Review and practice your fire plan both during the day and at night.
Keep Your Smoke Alarms Fire-Ready
Once a month, press the test button on every smoke alarm in your home to make sure each device is working. (Gather the kids so they know how the alarms sound.) Use this time to recap your family’s fire-escape plan.
Every six months, replace smoke-alarm batteries. Some families like to do this the same day they change their clocks for daylight saving time.
Check the manufacture date on your smoke alarm (you’ll find it on the back of the device, the face of the electronic horn, inside the battery compartment, or on the top sensing chamber). Because alarm sensitivity decreases with age, it’s important to replace any unit that has been around longer than 10 years. (If you see a code instead of a date, that means the alarm was manufactured before 1999.) Even if your home has a hardwired security system that detects fire, you still need separate battery-operated smoke alarms as a safeguard.
Learn How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, master bedroom, garage, and upstairs hall.
When should you use one? Only if: the flames are not growing and are contained in a small area and the air is mostly smoke-free, the room temperature is comfortable, and you have access to a clear exit. Then think PASS: Pull the pin. Aim low, pointing the nozzle at the fire’s base. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly. Sweep the nozzle carefully from side to side.