Safe Kids Carroll: Do you have a home fire escape plan?

This week, Oct. 7-13, is Fire Prevention Week, and this year's theme is “Look. Listen. Learn.”

“Look. Listen. Learn.” campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire:


Look for places fire could start.

Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.


Learn two ways out of every room.

Don't let another day go by without planning and practicing your home fire escape plan — you never know when you may need to use it.

As well as being prepared to escape a fire, it is equally important to be vigilant about preventing a fire from happening in the first place. Many times there is something that you can do so that a fire doesn't start, like paying attention to what you are cooking, for example.

Cooking is the number one cause of home fires and unattended cooking is the leading cause of fire. The next time you have dinner on the stove and think about leaving the room, think again.

If you and your neighbors have not taken the time to plan and practice your home fire escape plan, unfortunately you are not alone — nationally studies show that only 23 percent of households have a plan. This is something that can literally mean the difference between surviving a fire or being the victim of one.

Today’s home fires burn faster than ever. In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Knowing how to use that time wisely takes planning and practice.

Safety Tips

Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and have one inside each sleeping area and outside of each sleeping area.

Test smoke alarms at least once a month; change the batteries when time changes.

Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years or when the manufacturer suggests.

Develop a fire escape plan that identifies two ways out of each room and a family meeting place outside.

Make sure your plan allows for any specific needs in your household. If everyone knows what to do, everyone can get out quickly.

Practice using the plan, at least twice a year. If everyone knows that everyone else is ready to exit quickly; no one will lose precious time trying to help someone who doesn't need help.


Some children and adults may not awaken to the sound of the smoke alarm.

They may need help to wake up.

Home fire sprinklers are a crucial, life-saving technology, since sprinklers can reduce the risk of dying from home fires by 80 percent and can reduce the risk of property loss by 70 percent.

For more information, visit NFPA.org or call your local fire company.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun