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Would you consider yourself prepared? Even if you don’t think an emergency or tragedy could happen to you or your family, you need to always be prepared for such an event. Since October is Fire Safety Month, we have prepared five tips to ensure you and your family are prepared for the unexpected.

1. Always have a fire escape plan that you have practiced during the day AND night. Did you know that in 30 seconds, a small flame can get out of control and turn into a major fire. This is where seconds truly matter and a plan needs to be in place.

2. Designate an outside meeting place, a safe distance from the home, where everyone should meet. During a chaotic event like a house fire, finding your loved ones should be quick and easy to ensure everyone is safe and where they need to be.

3. Have a first aid kit handy at all times and make sure everyone in the family knows where it is. Since you will be pressed for time to get out of the house, make sure it is located near an exit. Emergency services aren’t always reliable and having a few essentials will be helpful.

4. Have an “emergency kit” in the same place that your first aid kit is located. The contents of this can vary, but it should include things like a multi-tool knife, bottles of water, at least one powerful LED flashlight (like the Olympia Z500) and a pair of 2-way radios. Fires often happen at night when lack of vision can make situations more stressful so it’s recommended that you have at least one LED flashlight on each floor of your house.

5. Make your home fire safe. Have smoke alarms on every level of your home in both bedrooms and hallways and test the smoke alarms once a month to ensure they are working properly. For more details on making your home fire safe, refer to this Red Cross Home Fire Safety Checklist.