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Employ simple fire prevention measures to maximize safety

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Did you know that, according to the National Fire Protection Association, most people have a false sense of security regarding house fires, believing that they would have approximately six minutes to evacuate their home in the event of a fire?
In reality, smoke and fire spread rapidly and can overcome occupants in less than three minutes.
When a fire occurs, there's no question that time is critical. The good news is there are several important steps you can take to maximize your escape time. With the following measures in place, you'll create critical protection for what matters most -- your home and family.
1. Install smoke alarms. You should have one in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. For the best protection, make sure all smoke alarms are interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
2. Inspect and clean smoke alarms monthly. Replace batteries in spring and fall. To clean the alarm, open the cover and gently vacuum the interior.
3. Prepare and practice a fire escape plan. Draw a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of every room - especially sleeping areas. Discuss the escape routes with every member of your household, and agree on a meeting place outside your home in case of emergency. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
4. Select building materials that provide passive fire protection. Passive fire protection is part of the core of the building and helps control fire by limiting its spread. One very effective form of passive fire protection is the installation of insulation. When adding or upgrading insulation, look for products made from naturally fire-resistant, inorganic materials. A favorite among builders, contractors and homeowners is a stone wool insulation called Roxul Safe 'n' Sound, which offers fire resistance up to 2,150°F. Its melting point is higher than the temperature of a typical house fire, which means it will stay in place longer to provide passive fire protection when every second counts, allowing more time for safe evacuation and for first responders to arrive.