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Preparation key to fire safety

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ATLANTA, Ga. -

According to the National Fire Protection Association, one-third of American households thought they would have six minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The fact is, you often have much less time.

The key to survival is preparation.

State Fire Marshal Dwayne Garriss says the key to fire prevention and safety lies in the seemingly small, but important details. The first fire safety must-have: smoke alarms. He says with a two-story home with a basement, a smoke alarm should be placed at the very top.

Garriss also says one smoke alarm is not enough. There should be one outside each bedroom and on each floor of your home. But they don't do any good if they aren't working. They should be tested at least twice a year.

While the recent, cool evenings are perfect for snuggling up by the fire place, you should take caution.

"You want to have a fire screen. This one actually has two; one on the inside, one on the outside. You want to always make sure your vent is open," said Garriss.

Garriss says also keep a watchful eye while in the kitchen. Loose clothing is not a cook's friend, and you should keep a fire extinguisher nearby, should a meal get out of control.

Scott Donolly installed sprinklers inside his home as added security, and his teenage daughter Michelle knows at least two ways out of the house.

Garriss says know and practice two emergency escape plans, and establish a meeting place.

"When you get to your meeting place, call 911 to come and deal with the problem," said Garriss.

Another hazard to watch out for is the room where you store your furnace or water heater. Don't store any combustibles near these appliances.

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