Every 15 seconds a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the United States. Most fires don’t happen in homes. But most fire deaths and injuries do. The major causes of fatal home fires throughout America are misplaced smoking materials, heating equipment, arson and children playing with matches or lighters. The United States and Canada have the highest fire death rates of any industrialized countries. Why? Our buildings are built to high standards and our fire departments are among the best in the world. The problem is people, and their lack of awareness about the importance of making fire safety a part of their everyday lives. Smoke Alarm FAQ Sheet »
How long do you have to escape from a fire in your home?
When people were asked this question in a recent survey held by the Home Safety Council, they answered in ways that were surprising. Fifty eight percent said two minutes or more. Twenty four percent estimated they had more than 10 minutes to escape a home fire. The truth is, you may have much less time to escape than you think. A typical living room fire can threaten the entire house in just moments—producing life threatening conditions in less than two minutes after the smoke alarm sounds. Your family needs to know how to get out at the first sign of a home fire.
Don't wait, plan your escape TODAY!
Every family should have a fire escape plan. Include everyone in the planning process. Draw your plan; marking two ways out of every room (include windows). Pick a meeting place outside well away from the building. Tell everyone to meet there after they have exited the building. That way you can count heads and tell the fire department if anyone’s trapped inside. Remind family members to never go back inside the building until emergency services clear the facility. Don’t forget to call the fire department from a safe location. Teach your children their addresses and emergency reporting telephone number (911).
Practice your plan
Plans are great, but the only way to know if they work is to practice them. Hold a home fire drill. Getting out of your own home sounds easy, but your home can look very different if it’s full of smoke. Children in particular need to practice. Children practice drills at school every month, but rarely at home. But fires are far more likely to happen at home. Have someone press the button on the smoke alarm as the signal for the drill to start. Get out quickly, but carefully. Follow your plan with everyone ending at the meeting place.