Chris Mabee: Keep Your Family And Home Safe With Smoke Detectors

Monday, December 19, 2016 - by Chris Mabee, president of Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

Our entire tri-state region is experiencing record-breaking drought conditions this winter, so it’s especially important to know how to best protect your family in the event of a house fire. It only takes a few simple steps to ensure your family and your home stay safe:

Make sure that your smoke alarm system is in working order.

Smoke alarms should be tested every month by pressing the red test button and should be replaced every 10 years. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends putting a smoke alarm inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area, as well as installing alarms on every floor of your home, including the basement.

Devise an escape plan and practice it.

Every family needs to have a fire safety action plan. The plan should include multiple ways for family members to escape the home and a designated meeting place. Make sure that every family member knows the plan by practicing it once a year during the day and at night.

Never go back into a burning building.

Once you have escaped, do not return to your home for other people or pets. Call the fire department after you have safely left the house.

Thanks to smoke alarms, Americans are safer than ever. According to NFPA, deaths from home fires dropped to a new low in 2012, when the estimated home fire death toll of 2,380 was 54% lower than 5,200 in 1980.

And the design of smoke alarms continues to improve, with new innovations including wireless technology and alternate signal noises that are easier for children and seniors to hear.

While it's crucial for every household to ensure the proper function and placement of smoke detectors, it is also important to have a fire safety action plan and to practice that plan regularly so that everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire.

For more information on fire safety in the home, visit the Chattanooga Fire Prevention Bureau at or contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423.624.9992 or

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