Home fires are very common and unfortunately, many of them are preventable. You should ensure that every member of your family knows exactly what to do in the event of a home fire. Make up a plan for evacuation, just in case. You should have two escape routes for every room in your home and make up a plan for each floor. The plan should be drawn and should show details such as doors and windows, stairs and hallways. You want family members to know exactly how and where they should exit the home in the event of fire.

The plan should also include a safe meeting area outside the home. Choose something like the end of the driveway, a large tree or another area that even younger children can easily find, and make sure that it is away from the home in a safe place. Test your doors and windows to ensure that they can be opened by younger members of the family, and practice your escape plan regularly.

You should discuss certain safety issues with family members. Topics can vary but should include things like always sleeping with bedroom doors closed and how each member will alert other members in the event of fire. Yelling, whistling and other loud noises can be very helpful in alerting family members of a fire. Have everyone practice yelling “fire” to ensure that they understand what needs to be done in case a fire does ever invade your home.

Ensure that your family understands that time is of the essence in a home fire. Should a fire happen during the night, no one should take the time to get dressed or search for valuables. Stress that getting out of the house is the most important factor. You should roll out of your bed and stay as close to the floor as possible while moving through the house. Breathing in smoke or gas could be fatal. Hold fire safety practices often so that everyone knows what should be done and how to properly get out.

If a fire does break out, understand that smoke will make visibility very low. You will not be able to see clearly, so it is important to teach family members how to feel their way out of the house. Learn the stop, drop and roll routine, just in case clothing catches fire and teach children that when a door is hot, there is likely fire behind it and another evacuation route should be taken.

Smoke detectors synced to a monitored home security system can be very helpful in early fire detection. Check smoke detectors at least once each month and replace batteries once each year, at the very least. You should have at least one smoke detector installed on each level of your home and only purchase those that are labeled by the UL or Underwriters Laboratories or FM, Factory Mutual.

Emergency phone numbers should be posted near your telephone so that you can contact the fire department if needed. Should you choose to have a monitored home security system installed in your home; any monitored fire detectors will alert the authorities for you.

Do not go back into your home until the fire department has deemed it safe to do so. Many homeowners are injured every year when they return to their homes before the fire has been completely extinguished. Practice first aid on family members if needed until emergency services arrive.

Fire prevention is very important and should be practiced regularly. If you use space heaters, ensure that you keep them at least 3 feet away from anything that could burn and never leave space heaters on when you are sleeping or away from home. Never allow pets or children near space heaters.

If you are a smoker, it is essential that you never smoke while in bed and always ensure that cigarettes are completely extinguished before discarding them in the trash. When cooking, keep clothing away from the stove and turn pot and pan handles toward the back of the stove to prevent children from pulling them off.

If you have a grease fire while cooking, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and then turn the burner off. Keep lighters and matches away from children at all times and always practice electrical safety. Never overload outlets or use any cords that are frayed or otherwise damaged. Never allow cords to run under carpeting or rugs or directly behind curtains. Never leave halogen lighting on when you are not home and keep them away from low ceilings and flammable fabrics.