Chances are, you’ve already checked and changed your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms already. This is because you’ve committed yourself to the schedule of bi-annual checks each time you set your clocks back or forward with Daylight Savings. You’ve decided to do this because it simply keeps you on a good schedule to make sure you don’t forget this simple task. You probably already know that in 2016, 27% of fire deaths in Washington State occurred in homes where no smoke alarms were present or the alarms weren’t working. So you’ve decided that checking yours is critical in keeping yourself and your family safe from this devastating type of injury and trauma.

But! Just in case this is all news to you, take a moment to “know your alarm, know your battery!”

State Fire Marshall Charles Duffy reminds Washingtonians, “Smoke alarms most often fail because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries so maintaining your alarms is a simple, effective way to protect you and your family.” There are some great practices for Bellingham residents to be safe listed here. 

When changing your smoke alarm’s batteries, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. No matter what kind of battery your smoke alarms have—9-volt, long lasting, or non-replaceable—they all must be tested monthly to ensure they are working properly. Replace any alarms that fail testing, and replace all smoke alarms that are 10 years old or older.

Another key to preventing catastrophic personal injuries such as what my clients faced in this case result is to create and practice a safety plan in the event of a fire. From the National Fire Protection Association, here are some beginning steps to take:

· Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm. For easy planning, download NFPA’s escape planning grid (PDF, 1.1 MB). This is a great way to get children involved in fire safety in a non-threatening way.

· A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code® requires interconnected smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

· Everyone in the household must understand the escape plan. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.

For more tips, please visit their home page so Bellingham residents can stay safe. 

If you or a loved one are ever injured in a house fire due to negligence please call me immediately. I can help you regain financial peace of mind while you focus on recovering your health. Contact me here today. 

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