Home fire safety tips

The best way to be safe is to be prepared before a fire strikes. Once the smoke detector goes off, you may have only two minutes, or less to get out.

Families should create their own fire escape plans by drawing a floor map, including all exits. Family members should then identify two ways out of every room and draw routes to a safe meeting place at a distance from the burning house. If there is smoke, family members should be taught to crawl on the floor, where air is cleaner and cooler.

Most who die in home fires are overcome by smoke. Do not stay in the burning home to dial 911. Do that from a safe location.

Most home fires begin in the kitchen, but it is important to have one smoke detector on every floor. They should be checked monthly.

Matches and lighters should be kept away from children and all clothing and materials should be at least three feet away from heaters.

Do not overload electrical outlets and check wires for wear, replacing any damaged or frayed cords.

Joy Nieman, "Where there's smoke. . ." The Seattle Times, October 2, 1999, D1

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