A home can become engulfed in flames in minutes. Here's what to know to help keep your family safe.
Smoke alarms save lives!
One of the most important steps to protect your family against fire is installing smoke alarms and keeping them in good working order. You can buy smoke alarms at most home and hardware stores. Check with Hanover Fire-EMS to see if we can install a free smoke alarm.
Install smoke alarms outside every bedroom or any area where someone sleeps. Also, install them in furnace areas. Be sure there is at least 1 alarm on every level of your home, including the basement, or at each end of a mobile home.
Test smoke alarms every month by pushing the test button. It is best to use smoke alarms with long-life batteries, but if you do not, change the batteries at least once a year, such as when changing your clocks in the fall.
Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
Never paint a smoke alarm.
Clean (dust or vacuum) smoke alarms once a month.
Use smoke alarms equipped with a flashing light and an alarm in homes with children or adults who are hard of hearing or deaf.
Fire drills—be prepared!
Even young children (3 and older) can begin to learn what to do in case of a fire.
Install at least 1 smoke alarm on every level of your home.
Have an escape plan and practice it with your family. This will help you and your family reach safety when it counts. There will be no time for planning an escape when a fire occurs.
Draw a floor plan of your home. Discuss 2 ways to exit every room with your family. Make sure everyone knows how to get out and that doors and windows can be easily opened to permit escape. Never use an elevator during a fire if you live in an apartment building. Use the stairs!
Agree on a meeting place. Choose a spot outside your home near a tree, street corner, or fence where everyone can meet after escaping. Teach your children that the sound of a smoke alarm means going outside immediately to the chosen place.
Know how to call the fire department. The fire department should be called from outside using a portable phone or from a neighbor's home. Whether the number is 911 or a regular phone number, everyone in the family should know it by heart. Make sure your children know your home address, too. Teach your children that firefighters are friends and never to hide from them.
Practice, practice, practice. Practice your exit drill at least twice a year. Remember that fire drills are not a race. Get out quickly but calmly and carefully. Try practicing realistic situations. Pretend some exits or doorways are blocked, or the lights are out. The more prepared your family is, the better your chances of surviving a fire.
Note: Parents of very young children or children with special needs should have a safety plan that fits their child's needs and abilities. For example, a child who is hard of hearing or deaf may need a smoke alarm with a flashing strobe-light feature. Parents with children younger than 5 years must plan on an adult rescuing them in the case of a house fire; they are too young to be able to rescue themselves reliably.