October is Fire Prevention Month
Survey Shows a Majority of Americans Have Fire Escape Plans but Don’t Practice Them
(Aurora, Ill.) Sept. XX, 2011 – According to a new nationwide survey*, a majority of Americans don’t practice what they plan when it comes to fire safety. The survey of 1,000 Americans revealed a surprising good news/bad news scenario relathttp://busy-at-home.com//wp-admin/post-new.phped to fire escape planning.
Conducted by First Alert as part of a consumer education campaign tied to national Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 9-15), the survey showed that a majority (79 percent) of Americans reported having a home escape plan in place in case of fire or other emergencies. However, more than half (51 percent) have never practiced it, and 29 percent have only practiced it once. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends planning an emergency escape route and practicing it twice annually, while other fire safety organizations promote monthly drills to improve reaction time in case of an emergency.
“It is encouraging that so many people have given thought to a fire escape plan, but unpracticed, it cannot be as effective,” said Deborah Hanson, director of external affairs for First Alert, a leader in residential fire and carbon monoxide (CO) detection devices. “The NFPA and local fire safety officials make strong recommendations because they know that proper planning can help prevent tragedy.”
To develop an effective fire escape plan, First Alert and the NFPA offer the following tips:
- Involve everyone in your household in developing a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Identify two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Make sure everyone in the home understands the plan.
- Install smoke alarms throughout the home and test them monthly. Change batteries every six months to ensure proper function.
- Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor’s house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped.
- Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor’s home or a cellular phone once safely outside.
- Once you’re out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.
Practice your home fire escape plan at least twice a year, making drills as realistic as possible. Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.
It’s important to determine during drills whether children and others can readily waken to the sound of smoke alarms. If they fail to awaken, make sure that someone is assigned to wake them up as part of the drill and in a real emergency situation. Also, consider switching to voice-enabled alarms such as the new Child Awakening Alarm from First Alert. This technologically-advanced alarm uses a loud, pre-recorded and tamper-proof human voice to alert residents in case of smoke or unhealthy levels of CO and also to the specific location of the hazard within the home.
“Studies show that children ages six to 10 are awakened more readily by voice, so this new technology provides an increased level of safety,” explains Hanson. “These alarms also help save time by identifying where smoke or CO is detected in the home, so residents can determine the fastest and safest ways out.”
To ensure the highest level of protection from smoke and CO, the NFPA recommends installing smoke alarms at the top of each staircase and one in every bedroom or sleeping area. For CO alarms, homes should have at least one CO alarm on each level, including the basement, and one in or near every bedroom or sleeping area. To put this into perspective, the average-sized U.S. home – a two-story, three bedroom house** – would need a minimum of four smoke alarms and five CO alarms to comply with NFPA guidelines.
“During Fire Prevention Week, we encourage everyone to evaluate their level of preparedness against potential dangers,” said Hanson. “It’s imperative that people develop and practice a fire escape plan, and install, maintain and regularly test smoke and CO alarms. These are life-saving practices that can make a real difference.”
First Alert products range from combination smoke and CO units to smoke alarms with escape lights, along with basic battery-powered products. First Alert® smoke and CO alarms are available at national retailers and online. For more information and a complete home safety checklist, visit http://www.firstalert.com/safety_checklist.php.
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This press release was provided by First Alert.