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This past weekend, we had a kitchen fire. A tortilla shell fell to the back of my toaster oven and started burning. There was an actual fire inside! Frankly, I didn’t know what to do and I froze. Cooler heads prevailed (my husband and my daughter’s) and the fire was put out by unplugging it and throwing water on it. My toaster is definitely ruined, but we’re all fine. I realized that I needed to know exactly what to do and to teach my children what to do if something happens. My kids are starting to cook and may not know what to do if an appliance that they are using catches on fire. It just so happens that I am partnering up with First Alert for Fire Prevention Month, but I didn’t expect to have a kitchen fire at all. But then again, do we ever expect tragedies to strike? Why not do what we can to make our families safe? How can we learn to be a super prepared family? Read on for some tips and for a giveaway at the end of the post. October is Fire Prevention Month: Make Sure Your Family is A Super Prepared Family
First Alert is a brand that I grew up with and we’ve been using in our own apartment for years. For years we’ve had a First Alert Fire Alarm in our apartment, right in our hallway and just yesterday, we installed a second Fire Alarm by First Alert in our boys’ room, which is right next to my daughter’s room. Our apartment isn’t a big one, but I felt like we could have more protection.
TIP: Make sure that you have properly functioning smoke and CO alarms are installed throughout the home. This should be must and if you haven’ – one on each level and in every bedroom, as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends – is the first line of defense for fire prevention. Additionally, alarms must be regularly tested – and alarms do not last forever and must be replaced at least every 10 years. Make a note somewhere when your smoke alarms will last until.
TIP: When you install your smoke alarm:
If you have an electric drill, it’s going to be much easier to drill the hole for the two screws on your smoke alarm. My husband had to charge our drill first (we have one my father gave us).
The instructions on our First Alert Smoke Alarm told us to use a 3/16th drill bit. This made a hole that was too big. If you are living in an old building like we are, start with a smaller hole and if you need it, then use a bigger drill bit. We recommend trying the smaller drill bit first– like a 11/64th drill bit to drill your holes.
When you are installing your smoke alarm, first take a pencil and the top part of the smoke alarm and fill in where you will drill your holes. Then take your drill and drill holes in your ceiling or wall.
Separate the smoke alarm from the mounting panel. Then take a screwdriver or pick up your drill again (our drill ran out of charge so we had to use a screwdriver) and screw the mounting panel in.
Before you put the smoke alarm onto the mounting panel, check the battery and make sure it works. Write the date you install it on the alarm.
Then just attach the smoke alarm to the mounting panel.
We have the alarm right in the opening to our sons’ bedroom and my daughter is right next to them. I may actually put an alarm in her room also.
First Alert has been helping protect homes and families since 1958. First Alert is encouraging everyone to unleash their own super powers with the “Super Prepared Family” to help spread awareness about home fire safety.
So what else can you do with your family to stay safe from fires?
Fire Prevention Safety Tips
- Draw a map of your home by using a grid in either English (PDF) or Spanish (PDF) with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
After our kitchen fire this weekend, we sat down with our kids to really start talking about this. I’ve spoken about it over the years, but after our fire, I realized we really need to make sure they can remember what to do. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but simple like the graphic below.
From the outside, they may look like a typical family, but each family member has a special “super safety power” and plays an important role in helping ensure their family and home are protected.
Max Safety, the dad, is super-tall. Using his long arms, he’s able to easily install smoke and CO alarms throughout the home. Able to reach great heights, he’s also responsible for testing the family’s alarms and replacing their batteries when needed. In fact, he checks each month to ensure every alarm is in proper working order. Because alarms do not last forever, Max makes sure to replace alarms every 10 years to help ensure his family is protected.
Mom Audrey Safety is a super-smart planner. She stays informed of the latest recommendations from the NFPA to ensure her family is super prepared. She has a complete safety checklist and makes sure she follows it with help from everyone in the family home. Items on her checklist include testing alarms, keeping track of expiration dates and replacing alarms as needed, ensuring alarms are installed on every level, and planning and practicing her family’s escape route. With Audrey, nothing falls through the cracks, which is why other annual items such as professionally servicing the furnace and ensuring dryer vents are clean also make the checklist.
Their daughter, Valerie Safety, is super-organized. She draws out the family’s fire escape plan, reviews it with the entire family and ensures that they practice it regularly together and include pets. Fire can spread through a home rapidly, so by creating their escape plan and practicing it regularly, the Super Prepared Family can get to safety quickly and calmly. Valerie makes sure the family practices their escape plan at least twice a year.
Younger son Alex and the family dog Buddy are the super-navigators. They know the importance of getting out and staying out of the home if there is an emergency, and waiting in their pre-determined meeting spot away from the home until the firefighters say the home is clear to re-enter. Alex knows to immediately call 911 once they are safely out of the home.
Check out the Super Prepared Family!
In honor of Fire Prevention Month, we are giving away a Fire Prevention Kit from First Alert (estimated retail value of $220)
The Fire Prevention Kit will include:
- 10-Year Atom Smoke & Fire Alarm (MSRP: $39.99)
- 10-Year Dual Sensor Smoke & Fire Alarm (MSRP: $49.95)
- 10-Year Alarm Life Carbon Monoxide Alarm (MSRP: $59.95)
- 10-Year Combination Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm (MSRP: $49.99)
- Tundra Fire Extinguishing Spray (MSRP: $19.99)
Good luck and enter below (ends 11/6 at 11:59PM)