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For goodness’ sake, check your smoke alarms


People hate to dwell on the idea that their home might catch fire and burn to the ground, but they really should take a minute, or three, to consider the possibility. According to experts, it takes just two minutes for a house fire to become life-threatening, and in five minutes, an entire home can be engulfed in flames.

October is National Fire Prevention Month. Now is the time to take the proper steps to stop a fire from ever breaking out, as well as to protect you and your family in the event of one. Preventing fires not only safeguards you and your loved ones, but also the firefighters who risk life and limb to extinguish a blaze when it erupts.

You should make sure to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year. Most experts say the change from daylight saving back to standard time — the first Sunday in November — is a perfect time to do that. And while you’re setting the clocks back, it’s also a good time to check your fire extinguishers to make sure they’re in working order.

Beyond that, people are urged to test their smoke alarms every month. It’s a simple task, but it can go overlooked. Remember, alarms would be the first line of defense if a fire were to ignite at your home.

It’s encouraging to see that so many local fire and police departments set up fairs in local store parking lots or parks throughout this month to hold safety demonstrations. Fire-prevention lessons shouldn’t be limited to fairs or schools, however. Families should make it a high priority at home, and parents should think of this time as an opportunity to discuss fire safety with their children, particularly young children.

In the event of a real fire, you would only get one chance to act appropriately and get out alive. That’s why it’s critical that you take the time to inspect your home, make a plan to follow if a fire breaks out and regularly practice executing that plan.