Keep your family safe from fires

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• Have a family escape plan. Every member of the family should know two ways out of the house in case the primary exit is blocked by fire or smoke. Also, designate a family meeting place outside. Firefighters’ primary task is to save lives, and if they know everyone is out safely, they can concentrate on putting the fire out.

• If you have children, teach them the basics, such as stop, drop and roll and crawling low in a room full of smoke. There are lots of good tips at

• Make sure everyone in your household knows the emergency phone number of the local fire department.

This month, fire departments are spreading the word about fire safety. Many firehouses are hosting open houses, while others are sending firefighters out to visit schools. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about fire safety and fire prevention from the experts.

On average, there are more than 350,000 residential fires a year in the United States, resulting in about 2,500 deaths, 13,000 injuries and billions of dollars in property loss. Do everything you can to avoid adding to these sobering statistics. Learn how to prevent a fire in your home and know how to get yourself and your family members to safety if one does occur. With common sense as your guide, it doesn’t take too much time, effort or expense to head off a real tragedy.

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