(BPT) – A fire department responds to a fire every 24 seconds, and a small flame can turn into a major fire rapidly. With Americans spending more time at home than ever before, it is important to be ready before disaster strikes. To ensure your family is prepared for the unexpected, make sure you know these five fire safety do’s and don’ts from First Alert:
* Do equip your home with smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three out of five fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. For protection and peace of mind, install smoke alarms on each level of the home, including the basement, and in every bedroom, and install CO alarms on every level and near all sleeping areas.
* Don’t forget to check your alarms regularly. Once your smoke and CO alarms are installed, test them regularly and change the batteries every six months. For convenient protection, upgrade to a First Alert 10-Year Sealed Battery Combination Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm, which eliminates battery replacements and late-night battery chirps for a decade and the risk of deactivating an alarm by battery removal.
* Do keep a fire extinguisher on hand. Beyond alarms, having fire extinguishers – and knowing how to use them – is an important part of maintaining a safe home for you and your family. Place fire extinguishers on every level of the home, and in convenient locations such as the kitchen and garage.
* Don’t leave food unattended when cooking. Did you know unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires in the U.S.? Whether you are using the stove top or oven, be sure to remain in the kitchen at all times while cooking. For extra protection, clear the area around your stove top of fire hazards, including items that can catch fire such as paper towels or dish towels.
* Do have an emergency escape plan. According to the NFPA, only 32% of American households have an emergency escape plan in place. Walk through your home as a family and identify two exits out of each room, including windows and doors. Your family should also pick a designated meeting spot at a safe distance away from the house. Once outside, stay outside, dial 911 and wait for emergency responders to arrive. Practice this plan with the entire family twice a year.
“It is critical that families take additional safety measures to help ensure they are prepared in the event of a home fire,” said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert. “By proactively equipping your home and family with the tools and knowledge they need to prevent fire and carbon monoxide incidents, you are ensuring they are ready for the unexpected.”
To learn more about how to keep your family and home safe, visit firstalert.com/firepreventionmonth.