Lifesaving Tips to Review with your Family

October is Fire Prevention Month, and there is no better time to create a fire safety plan with your family. Sadly, at least one child dies every day, and many more are injured, as a result of a fire.   It is never too early to start teaching our children – and reminding ourselves – about fire safety.  We have created a checklist for you to use with your family to create a working Fire Safety Plan.


  • Make sure to install at least one smoke detector on each floor of your home.  Other good places for detectors – outside bedrooms and in each bedroom
  • Check smoke detectors monthly.  Make sure they are working
  • Change batteries in smoke detectors twice a year. A good reminder - Do it when you change the clock
  • Change detectors every 10 years.  If you’re not sure how old your detector is, change it now, then write the date of the new one on the back
  • Don’t forget to also install a Carbon Monoxide Detector


  • Create TWO escape routes from your house.  Make it a family project so the kids know safe exits
  • Designate a meeting area outside and away from the house – chose a nearby neighbor’s house or a tree down the street
  • Review what to do if the fire alarm goes off – including feeling a closed door to see if it’s warm (indicates a fire is nearby) and getting down low if there is smoke
  • Practice these escape routes with a mock fire drill. Get a stopwatch and time the family’s exit.  Work on getting out quickly, but safely. As everyone gets better at it, lay out fake obstacles and barriers
  • Remind children NEVER to go back inside a burning house to get a cherished toy or stuffed animal
  • Wait to call 911 until AFTER you are all out of the house
  • Don’t go back in until after the all clear


  • Do not leave any food cooking on the stovetop unattended
  • Keep anything that can catch fire like oven mitts, paper towel, or recipes away from the stove
  • Turn handles away from the outside when cooking – little kids can grab them in a split second – and consider only using the back burners
  • Blow out any candles when you leave the room
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn
  • Never use your oven to heat the house
  • Turn off portable heaters when going to bed or leaving the room
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy, child-proof screen
  • Keep matches and lighters stored in a high shelf where children can’t reach
  • Never smoke in bed

Written by Jenny Tananbaum, Suburban Mom.