How to Check Your Smoke Alarms
- Check smoke alarms. Make sure there is a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and near sleeping areas. Test smoke alarms every month and replace them every 10 years or when the battery is low.
- Know the difference between smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. It is important to have both smoke and CO alarms in your home. Combination smoke and CO alarms are available, but if you have separate ones, make sure you know the sound of each alarm. Learn more CO safety tips.
Be Aware of Fire Hazards in Your Home
- Limit distractions when cooking. Don’t leave a hot oven or stovetop unattended. Keep anything that can catch fire, such as dish towels or wooden spoons, away from your stovetop.
- Unplug small appliances when not in use. Make sure that you unplug appliances like toasters, toaster ovens and slow cookers when you are not using them.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. Blow them out when you leave the room or before you go to sleep.
- Teach kids never to play with matches and lighters. Make a habit of placing these items up and away, out of reach and sight of young children.
- Choose the right wood for your fireplace. Burn only dry, seasoned wood and avoid burning trash in your fireplace.
- For additional information on preventing home fires, visit the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or United States Fire Administration (USFA).
How to Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan
- Create and practice a fire escape plan. Create a home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room (ex. a window and a door). Choose a place to meet outside that is a safe distance away from your home.
- Practice a home fire drill at least twice a year. Practice a home fire drill with your family during the day and at night. Practice escaping in under two minutes. Sometimes that is all the time you will have to get out of the house safely.
- Choose one person to be responsible for getting infants and young children out of the home. Have a back-up person to help young children just in case the primary person is unable to help.
- Teach older children how to follow your fire escape plan. Make sure they know to “get low and go” if there is smoke when they are leaving the home. Teach them to open windows, remove screens and unlock doors if necessary.
In an Emergency, Leave Home Immediately
- If there is a fire, leave home immediately. If there is a lot of smoke, get low and crawl out of the house as quickly as possible. Call 911 after you are a safe distance away from your home. Stay in the safe location until emergency personnel tell you it is safe to re-enter your home.