That’s the sound you want to hear if there’s a fire in your home. Unfortunately, too many people never hear an alarm.
We estimate that nearly 2,400 people die each year because of unintentional home fires. About two-thirds of these fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or with smoke alarms that don’t work, perhaps because someone has removed the battery and forgotten to replace it. A smoke alarm’s warning can cut the risk of dying from a fire in your home by almost half.
Beep, Beep, Beep!
Many of us have heard those smoke alarm dead battery chirps – usually at an inopportune time such as 2 a.m. A common response: Remove the battery, go back to sleep, and forget to put in a new battery.
Even when you’re sleep-deprived, that annoying sound does NOT mean remove the battery and forget about it. It means CHANGE THE BATTERY!
When you’re changing that battery, look around your home for where you have smoke alarms. Do you have one on every floor? In every bedroom?
Smoke alarms are just one layer of protection for your home. CPSC along with the National Fire Protection Association urge you to develop a fire escape plan. Each person should know two ways out of every room. Set a family meeting place outside. And then practice it twice a year. REALLY!
In addition to these two key layers of protection, follow these safe practices to prevent a fire:
- Cook Safely: Stay in the kitchen and keep a watchful eye while you are cooking. Unattended cooking is the No. 1 cause of cooking fires.
- Check your home’s electrical safety. Heating and cooling equipment are the second-most common source of home fires. Here is a checklist that walks you through how to keep your family safe room by room.
- Use caution when smoking and don’t smoke in bed. From 2006 to 2008, smoking materials caused about 600 deaths each year.
- Buy lighters with a child-safe mechanism if you have kids at home. It’s obvious, but children and fire don’t mix.
- Stop using recalled gel fuels in fire pots. CPSC has recalled millions of bottles of gel fuel due to burn and flash fire hazards. The pourable gel fuel can ignite homes unexpectedly and splatter onto people and objects nearby when it is poured into a firepot that is still burning.