Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 9-15 in Michigan.
The theme for this year is "Don't Wait: Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years."
Many people are unaware that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, or do not maintain working alarms in their homes.
According to the National Fire Protection Association in the United States, three out of every five fire deaths result from homes completely without smoke alarms, or with smoke alarms that are not working properly. State Fire Marshall Julie Secontine says to check the manufacture date on the bottom or side of the alarms, and replace them if they are more than 10 years old.
Officials also say you should test your fire alarms monthly by using the test button, and replace the batteries every year, or when the alarm begins to chirp.
There should be an alarm in all of a home's bedrooms, outside each sleeping area, and on each floor of a home.
You should also have a fire escape plan in place in case of a fire emergency. It can take less than 3 minutes for a house to be engulfed in flames, so any confusion or hesitation can be deadly.
Here are some tips for making a fire escape plan:
When developing a home fire escape plan:
• Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Know the safest exit route.
• Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily and that every family member understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked windows and doors.
• Learn how to escape from windows.
• If your windows or doors have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately.
• If someone in the home has access or functional needs such as infants, older adults or people with a mobility disability, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a back-up in case that person is absent from the home.
• Practice checking the doors for smoke. If you see smoke, do not open the door. If you touch the door and it is hot, do not open the door.
• If the door is cool enough to open, open doors slowly and put your head down and tilt your face away from the opening.
• Close doors behind you to slow the flow of oxygen to the fire and give you time to escape.
• Practice crawling low. In a fire, smoke and poisonous air hurt more people than the actual flames. Staying low means you can crawl below the smoke.
• Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet once they have escaped.
• Never go back into a burning home for any reason. If someone is missing, inform the fire department or dispatcher when you call.
• Make sure everyone in your home knows how to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.