Smoke Alarms and Home Escape Planning
Most fire deaths are caused by smoke, not flames. And most fire deaths and injuries occur at night while victims are asleep. The earlier you are alerted to a fire, the more likely it is you will be able to get out in time. Smoke alarms won't prevent fires, but they will increase your chance of getting out and calling 911. Working smoke alarms more than double your chances of surviving a fire!
Smoke alarms should be placed inside and outside each bedroom or sleeping area; on each level of the home; and in the garage. It is best if smoke alarms are connected to each other by wiring or radio frequency so when one alarm is activated they all sound. Children will sleep through the sound of a smoke alarm, so adults need to make sure children are awakened to exit the home.
The presence of smoke alarms in your home does not guarantee fire safety - they must always be in good condition!. Test your smoke alarm batteries monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Vacuum your alarms regularly to remove dust and cobwebs. Smoke alarms need to be replaced every 7 to 10 years.
Home Escape Plan
Don't forget to make an escape plan with your family! The plan needs to include two ways out of each room and a meeting place in front of the home or at a neighbor's home. View a home escape plan grid (PDF).
If bedrooms are located on the second level or higher of your home you will need an escape ladder for those bedrooms. Fire escape ladders are available at most hardware stores.You can practice placing the ladder and climbing out with kids on a first-floor window. Be aware some ladders are single-use and cannot be opened more than once.
Practice your home escape plan a few times a year, during the day and at night. Young children are sometimes wary of practicing, but assure them practice will help them know what to do if there is a real emergency.