The U.S. Fire Administration kicked off it's public safety campaign today by urging everyone to install and maintain smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms installed outside sleeping areas dramatically save lives. Sadly, one local family discovered this first hand. The Newsmirror (http://newsmirror.net/) reported that a family lost their mobile home to a fire that was started by faulty heater. The father was awakened by the smoke alarm and was able to get his family which includes 4 small children to safety.
This illustrates how a simple smoke alarm in working order can be a lifesaver. Most smoke alarms can be purchased for twenty dollars or less. If you test the alarm once a month and replace the batteries once or twice a year, you can go to sleep with peace of mind. Check out http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/smokealarms for more info about the USFA campaign.
Having your heating and AC units checked every one or two years and cleaning and changing the filter twice a year will help them run more efficiently, could help lower your utility bills and help prevent a malfunction.
For any disaster it is always a good idea to have a plan. You should have an emergency kit for your family and a kit in each vehicle you own. In addition to first aid and medications, you should also have plenty of water, spare clothing and good fitting, comfortable tennis shoes or boots. You can go to http://www.ready.gov/america/index.html to get some great information for disaster planning, info about the flu and more. Also, check the Ready Campaign box on this blog for more preparedness info.