Most people recognize the importance of having fire alarms in their home, but very few regularly take the additional steps necessary to ensure that their family is safe in the event of a fire. Ensuring that the fire alarm is regularly tested and maintained, as well as having a plan in place can save both lives and property.
Ensuring Proper Alarm Placement
It is essential to have fire alarms in several places throughout your home. All bedrooms should contain an alarm to alert and wake sleeping individuals of a fire in the home. There should also be at least one alarm on each level of the home to ensure that it is heard regardless of location in the residence. Ensure that the alarm system is connected so that when one alarm sounds, the rest will follow. Because smoke rises, it is important that the alarms are placed near the ceiling so that they can quickly detect that there is a fire.
Testing the Fire Alarm
It is extremely important to test fire alarms on a regular basis to ensure that the batteries are not dead and that the alarm itself is functioning properly. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association recommends that the alarms are tested at least once a month. This testing is as simple as pressing the test button on your alarm. This will cause the alarm to sound just as it would in the event of a fire. This opportunity can be a great opportunity to educate young children about what the alarm means and what to do when they hear it. Most alarms will chirp to inform you that the batteries are getting low. Upon hearing this chirping, the batteries should be replaced immediately.
Maintaining the Alarm
The manufacturer of the alarm should include instructions for properly maintaining your alarm system in the directions that are included when the alarm is purchased. If these instructions have been misplaced, a quick internet search can provide you with an extra copy. The alarms should be cleaned regularly as part of the regular fire alarm inspections, so that dust does not prevent them from working. It is also recommended that the batteries be replaced at least once annually.
Having a Plan
Even with a perfectly functioning alarm system, a lack of planning can prove disastrous for your family. Ensure that every member of the household is aware of as many exits from each room as possible. This ensures that if one exit is obstructed, there are other options available for escape. Some families may even prefer to have a diagram of the home that shows the routes that can be taken to escape the home. It is also important to have a mutually agreed upon meeting place for everyone to go to once they exit the building. This will quickly inform family members and fire officials if someone i trapped in the fire. The quicker this assessment is made, the more likely that the person will be rescued from the burning building.
Proper planning can be the difference between life and death in the devastating event of a home fire.