October is Fire Safety Month so it’s the perfect time to go around your home and make sure that you have all the equipment you need to keep your family and home as safe as possible. 

Let’s start with fire alarms. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you install smoke alarms and fire alarms (or a combo unit) on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. This ensures that no matter where or when a fire breaks out your family will be alerted so they can escape to safety. Remember, though, you’re only alerted if you have a working smoke or fire alarm, so when you turn the clocks back this fall, replace your batteries!

Keeping matches and lighters hidden away, and teach young children to “stop, drop, and roll” in the event that their clothing catches fire, is also important. Keeping children away from the stove, never leaving candles, fireplaces, or fire pits unattended, and other common-sense rules will make fire prevention a simple and easy plan to put into practice. 

Be wary of space heaters. Space heaters cause more than 25,000 fires and more than 300 fire deaths a year. You should be aware of all space heater and portable heater locations; and make sure they’re not too close to drapes or other flammable surfaces and that they’re in good working order before turning them on for the winter season. Frayed cords—in particular—are important to address, so when buying space heaters pick one with a tip-over safety shut off. Remember, fire prevention is always your best bet. 

Keep a fire extinguisher in any room with a space heater, as well as in the kitchen, and make sure the ones you do have are not expired. If you don’t have any pick some up at your local Brinkmann’s Hardware store. They’ll have fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, fire alarms, and CO2 alarms to keep your family safe. 

Once you have all the fire safety equipment you need, it’s important to make sure your family is prepared in the event of a fire. Practice a home fire escape plan with your family in case a fire does occur. Know which doors and windows are useful to escape, and where to meet once you are outside. Remember, once you’re outside the house call for help and never go back inside for any reason. Your family should practice a fire escape plan at least once a year, particularly if there are small children in the house. Keeping your family safe should be a year-round goal, not just for fire prevention month, so keep these tips in mind and you’ll be better prepared should a fire ever happen.