Every Second Counts

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Fire grows and moves faster than most people can imagine. When your smoke alarm sounds, your family could have less than 2 minutes to get out safely. That’s why our theme for Fire Prevention Month 2017 is “Every Second Counts! Test Smoke Alarms Every Month, and Plan 2 Ways Out.”

Whether you live in a house or an apartment, follow these 6 simple steps to plan and practice your escape:

  1. Draw a basic map of your home’s layout. Include all windows and doors.
  2. Plan two ways out of every room, in case one way is blocked by fire. Make sure doors and windows are not stuck closed or blocked by furniture.
  3. Agree as a family upon a “safe meeting place” outside near your home. (This should be someplace in eyesight of the home, but not too close. Common examples are the end of your driveway, your mailbox, a neighbor’s porch, a light pole, or a large tree down at the corner.)
  4. Push the test button to sound the smoke alarm.
  5. Smoke rises. Immediately “get low and go!”
  6. Practice your escape a few times a year with everyone who lives in your home. Finish by gathering outside at your safe meeting place.

Working smoke alarms more than double your family’s chance of surviving a fire at home. You should have a smoke alarm in every bedroom and sleeping area, in the common area outside the bedroom(s), and at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the “invisible killer” because you can’t smell it or see it. If you have any gas appliances, you need at least one CO alarm on each level of the home. You’re also advised to have CO alarms if you have any type of fireplace or an attached garage.

But simply having these alarms is not enough! Push the test button on each alarm every month, and change the batteries at least once a year — no matter what kind of alarm you have. Replace older   alarms to ensure they’ll work when lives depend on them. For more information on smoke or carbon monoxide alarms, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions webpage.