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When a fire occurs in your home or place of business, your biggest concern is making sure that each and every person evacuates as quickly as possible. In honor of National Fire Prevention month, here are ten of the most important tips to consider to increase the level of safety in both your home and business. If you want to be sure your home and business are safe while you’re away, monitored smoke detectors and fire alarms can offer the greatest level of protection available.

For Your Business:

1. Fire Extinguisher Training – Fire extinguishers can be used to put out smaller fires blocking escape paths, or they can help keep flames under control until everyone can be safely evacuated from a section of the building. (Click here to watch a video on the proper use of a fire extinguisher)

2. Planning – Escape plans must be updated in order to reflect changes to the workplace. It’s not enough to adopt a “set it and forget it” policy when it comes to fire escape planning.

3. Practice. Practice. Practice. – Escape drills should be done regularly – at least as often as you test your fire alarm system – and new employees should be introduced to the fire escape plan as quickly as possible.

4. Maintain Your MSDS Sheets – Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are important for companies that handle flammable chemicals or products. When planning fire escape routes, avoid sending workers toward potentially unsafe materials.

5. Keep Exits Clear And Unlocked – Ensure that your fire escape doors are clear and can be used easily in the event of an emergency.

For Your Home:

1. Cook Safely – Unattended cooking is the leading cause of reported home fires. About 15% of these fires originated in ovens but most came from ranges.

2. Heat Safely – The second biggest fire threat is from home heating systems. Have your chimney, along with your furnace, cleaned by a professional at least once a year.

3. Child Safety – Playing with matches is the number one cause of fire deaths for U.S. youngsters. Store matches and lighters high and out of sight.

4. Be Mindful of Cords – Power cords become most threatening when the following conditions are present: you plug too many into one outlet; you place the cord in a high-traffic area; you put a rug over one; you put a nail under one.

5. Get Smoke and Heat Detectors – One for each floor and, ideally, each bedroom. Check them once a month and change the batteries once a year if you have battery operated detectors. Replace the detectors themselves every 10 years.