When was the last time you replaced your smoke detector device?

Fire Prevention Month: 4 Ways to Get Prepared for the Worst

October Fire Prevention Month is the perfect time to educate and talk with your whole family about fire safety. With the top three causes of fires in homes being cooking, heating equipment and electrical malfunctions — it’s understandable how important it is to be prepared. According to the Department of Homeland Security, it can take just 30 seconds for a small flame to turn into a roaring blaze. If you can’t remember when the last time you replaced the batteries in your smoke detector, keep reading.

Here are four ways to get prepared for the worst:

Change Out Batteries

The best smoke alarm in the world provides no value if the batteries are dead. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends changing the batteries in your smoke alarm every six months. The best part about regularly changing batteries is that you’ll never hear the persistent chirp of a dead smoke detector again!

PRO TIP: If one device needs new batteries, change out the batteries in all of your alarms at the same time so they’re all on the same schedule. An easy way to remember to change your batteries is to coincide with the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time.

Test Smoke Alarms Every 6 Months

According to First Alert, three out of every five fire deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke alarms. While some alarms have built-in 10-year batteries, it’s still recommended to test your smoke alarms every six months. In addition, all devices should be replaced every 10 years. 

PRO TIP: Daylight savings is also the perfect time to schedule your alarm tests. Change your clocks, replace your batteries and test your alarms together as routine maintenance.

Get Comfortable with the Fire Extinguisher 

Experts recommend fire extinguishers should be on every level of the home and in areas like the kitchen and garage. They should be stored or mounted on the wall in easily accessible places in the event of any emergency. 

PRO TIP: Using a fire extinguisher can be intimidating if you’ve never used one before. The anagram PASS will help you remember to: PULL the pin, AIM the nozzle to the base of the fire, SQUEEZE the lever you just pulled the pin out of, and SWIPE from side to side to cover the area.

Make an Escape Route

Less than 50% of homeowners have an escape plan. The American Red Cross recommends all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home. Try practicing fire drills twice a year during Daylight Savings as well!

PRO TIP: Use this Home Fire Escape Plan worksheet to get started.

With the combination of wildfires sweeping the west, power outages in the south and eastern storms brewing — fall is a great time to review fire safety tactics and implement fire prevention habits. Let’s make the season safe!