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It's vital that you check the fire-alarm batteries monthly, and be sure to change the batteries at least once a year. Some experts advice that you should change the batteries twice a year, on the two days that the time changes in the spring and fall.
You'll increase your family's chance of a quick escape by installing smoke alarms. Be sure to install one in each bedroom and on every level of your home. And if you have a basement, don't forget to install one down there. Alarms should be installed on the ceiling whenever possible, and they should be located away from the corner of the room.
Your best protection in the event of a fire in your home is for you and your family to have an established emergency-exit plan. The plan should include at least two exits from each section of your home -- especially the bedrooms.
Fire ladders should be easily accessible (store under a bed, for example) in rooms above the first floor. Identify a pre-arranged meeting place outside and away from your house, and review and practice this plan periodically.
For added security, install a fire extinguisher on each level of your home. Look for one with an ABC rating, indicating that the extinguisher is effective on various types of fires. Be sure to inspect it regularly to make certain it's properly charged.
In case you need to use the fire extinguisher, remember the acronym P.A.S.S., which stands for: Pull pin and hold unit upright, Aim nozzle at the base of the fire, Squeeze the trigger, and Sweep the base of the fire until it's out.