Division of Fire Safety encourages families to test smoke alarms, review fire escape plans, check home heating precautions
JEFFERSON CITY – State Fire Marshal Tim Bean recommends Missouri families invest the extra time gained this weekend as we “fall back” to Central Standard Time to take several simple steps to keep their families safe during autumn and winter. On Sunday, Nov. 6, at 2 a.m., clocks “fall back” one hour as daylight saving time ends.
“Having working smoke alarms in your home is one of the simplest and most important steps you can take to increase your family’s safety,” State Fire Marshal Bean said. “Installing and maintaining smoke alarms can reduce your chances of dying in fire by 50 percent. The majority of home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms give you extra time to get out, and today’s homes burn faster and hotter than structures built decades ago. This is why we ask Missourians to test their smoke alarms and change the batteries when they move their clocks back each fall.”
Across the nation, according to the United States Fire Administration:
- Three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms.
- Thirty-eight percent of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarm was in the home.
- The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
- One-half of home fire deaths occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep.
Smoke Alarms – All alarms should be tested monthly; press the test button to be sure the alarms are working. Replace all smoke alarms once they’re 10 years old. Smoke alarms should be installed in every sleeping rom and on every level of the home.
Close Doors – Closing doors in your home, when you sleep and when you leave the house slows the spread of fire and heat by cutting the oxygen that feeds a fire. Simply closing the doors to rooms in your house can also dramatically reduce the amount of damage a structure will sustain in a fire.
Plan Your Escape – Each member of the household should know two ways out of each room. Make sure escape routes are clear of debris and windows open easily. Designate an outdoor meeting place for the family. Regularly practice escape routes will all members of the family.
Extension Cord Safety – Never substitute extension cords for permanent wiring or use them for more than one appliance. Make sure extension cords or power strips are rated for the product to be plugged in. Never cover an extension cord with a rug or carpet; it prevents heat from escaping. Multi-plug devices and power strips are designed to be plugged directly into electrical outlets; they should never be chained together.
Space Heater Safety – Space heaters are a factor in about 43 percent of home heating-related fires and 85 percent of associated deaths. They should only be placed on the floor. Never leave a space heater on when you leave a room. Only plug space heaters directly into wall outlets. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from all heating equipment, including drapes, furniture and electronics.