Friday, September 2, 2011
September is National Preparedness Month
Disaster preparedness became a renewed priority for our Nation as a direct response to the devastation of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Following the tragedies of that day, government at all levels has worked more closely with civic and private sector organizations and the public to prepare for emergencies. Americans need to become fully aware, trained, and practiced on how to respond to potential threats and hazards.
Everyone should: Have an emergency supply kit. Make a family escape plan. Be informed about the types of emergencies that can happen in your community and how your family will respond. Each person's needs and abilities are unique but every individual can take important steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies – including fire emergencies - and put plans in place.
Prepare for a Fire Emergency In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames. By preparing for a fire emergency, you can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a fire casualty.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside sleeping areas. Test your smoke alarms once a month and change the batteries at least once a year. Replace smoke alarms every 8-10 years or as the manufacturer guidelines recommend. Plan your escape from fire. The best plans have two ways to get out of each room. Practice fire escape plans several times a year. Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed. Purchase only collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Check that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be properly opened. Make sure everyone in your family understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked or barred doors and windows. Consider installing residential fire sprinklers in your home.