The National Fire Protection Association reports that three of every five home fire deaths result in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. How confident are you that you have done everything you can to protect your family from the dangers of a home fire? Are you prepared? Are your children prepared? Know the proper steps ahead of time, to ensure that your family is prepared should the unspeakable occur.

Smoke alarms are the first line of defense against any home fire casualties, and practicing these proper smoke alarm precautions, could save your life.

Alarm Placement: a smoke alarm should be installed on every floor of you home, outside and inside of every sleeping area, and even in areas that you wouldn’t think of, such as large closets, the garage and storage areas inside the home.

Types of Alarms: there are two types of smoke alarms. Ionization smoke alarms and photoelectric smoke alarms. I could bore you with the mechanics of each type, but what your really need to know is that ionization smoke alarms respond more quickly to flaming fires and photoelectric smoke alarms are more responsive to smoldering fires. Unless you can see into the future and determine which type of fire might occur in your residence, it is imperative that you install BOTH types of alarms in your home. Also, make sure to interconnect your alarms so that when one sounds, they all sound.

Test Your Alarms: Alarms should be tested, at a minimum, every month. Also, make sure to test the alarms in the rooms of sleeping children to test whether or not the alarm will wake them up. Make sure to replace batteries on a regular schedule; don’t wait until they are completely dead. Also, replace all alarms that are older than ten years.


Plan Your Escape

Your family’s ability to get out of the house during a fire depends on the advance warnings of the fire alarm, but it also depends on their ability to get outside.

Prepare a proper escape plan. Practice your escape plan. Know your roles in the escape plan. Here are some guidelines that could help you in advance of a home fire.

Plan Your Escape: with a sketch of your home, walk through your household and look for TWO ways out of every room. Mark these areas on your sketch so that they are clear in your initial review of the plan with family members.

Know Your Responsibility: with children in the home, or even family members with mobility limitations, prepare ahead of time which adult will be responsible for alerting or ensuring that person is out of the house.

Practice the Route: make sure that every person in the home is aware of the two potential escape routes for every room. Practice, practice, practice escaping. There is no substitute for actually doing what it to be done.

Establish a Meeting Place: plan an outside meeting place where everyone will go once they have escaped. This will eliminate confusion on who has actually exited the house.

NEVER Enter a Burning House: remember to never reenter the burning building for any reason. Leave that danger to the trained professionals.

Every home fire is different, so use these basic guidelines to be as prepared as you can to increase your family’s chances of making it out safe. Your belongings can be replaced. Your family can’t.

For more complete information on surviving a fire safely, please visit the NFPA website. To find out how you can protect your family’s belongings should the unthinkable happen, visit Henry Insurance Service at and let one of our insurance experts help you get the most out of your home owners insurance policy.