According to Red Cross, if a fire starts in your home, you may have as little as two minutes to escape. Practicing a fire escape plan regularly could cut your risk in half. Here are some tips on how to properly prepare yourself and your family in case a fire threatens your home:


Install smoke alarms: All smoke alarms should be tested once a month and batteries should be replaced once a year. It is important to install the right amount of smoke alarms depending on the size of your home.


Prepare young children: It is important to teach your younger children what smoke alarms sound like and what they should do when they hear one. They should also learn how and when to dial 9-1-1.


Have a discussion with your family: Make sure everyone living in the home knows at least 2 ways to escape, should there ever be a fire. Place emergency numbers where everyone can see, and everyone with a phone should have it saved. Come up with a mutual meeting spot, should there need to be an evacuation.


Fire drills: Practice makes perfect. You should repeat fire drills until everyone gets it right, and you are all evacuated from the home in under 2 minutes. Drills should not be scheduled with family members, but instead, when everyone is least expecting it.


Stop, Drop and Roll: Should there be a fire in your home and someone on fire, everyone should know the Stop, Drop and Roll Method. Remember, the one thing you should never do is run. If you witness someone whose clothes are caught on fire, be sure to stop them from running and make them stop, drop and roll. Once the fire is out, cool them with water if possible, and immediately dial 9-1-1.


Be responsible: Remember to turn off portable heaters, stoves, ovens, burning candles, etc. when you leave a room. Keep flammable items such as curtains and tablecloths, at least 3 feet away from hot surfaces and items.


Thousands of people die from fires every year in this country. Most residential fire deaths occur because of inhalation of toxic gases, rather than contact with the flames. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by taking a few precautions. By practicing fire safety, you could save lives. We hope you will take these suggestions into consideration at least once a year when replacing fire alarm batteries.