MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
One minute or less is all the time you may have to escape your home in the event of a fire. While the fire itself may still be developing, the smoke produced from the fire can easily fill your home with toxic gases and intense heat. To ensure your you and your family are protected, it’s essential to maintain and check your smoke detectors regularly.
Most people are misled to believe that the fire itself is the primary hazard in the event of a fire. Although fire poses a great deal of danger, smoke produced from fire is the leading killer. Every year fires are associated with nearly 3,000 fatalities in the United States alone and 40% of those deaths are in homes lacking a working smoke detector. Inspect your home and make sure there is a smoke detector inside and outside each sleeping area. Also make sure there is at least one detector installed on each level of your home. To ensure your smoke detector is working properly, follow these guidelines:
- Check your detector once a month to make sure it’s working by pressing the button and listening for the beep.
- Change the batteries of your detector twice a year. An easy way to remember this is to change them every time you change your clocks for daylight saving time.
- Replace smoke detectors every ten years. If you are unsure of the age of your detector, replace it to be safe.
While a working smoke detector is essential to remain safe, a well-practiced escape plan is equally important. In the event of a fire with heavy smoke conditions, the atmosphere in your home can easily become chaotic and dark. Having a plan your entire family is familiar with prior to a fire is important to ensure your family gets out quickly and safely. Take the time and make a plan following these concepts:
- Plan an escape route and ensure everyone knows what to do.
- If possible, figure out two ways to exit every room.
- Designate a meeting place outside of your home and don’t let anyone re-enter once outside.
- Call 911 as soon as you’re at your designated meeting place and report if anyone is missing.
No one likes to think about the possibility of a fire in their home, but making sure you’re protected and prepared will greatly assist in ensuring your safety and protection. Remember, it takes less than a minute to become another statistic.