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What is your smoke alarm IQ? Take the quiz by clicking here, then read on.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep, and three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Here are a few other statistics:

  • One quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
  • In 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,755 deaths, 12,200 civilian injuries, and $7.0 billion in direct damage
  • Home fires killed an average of eight people every day in 2013.
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean. This usually involved creosote build-up in chimneys.
  • Portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) home heating deaths.
  • Just over half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.

When it comes to buying a home, we all hear it’s about location, location, location. Well, the same holds true for smoke alarms. If there is a fire in your home, a smoke alarm gives you time to get out. The week of Oct. 4-10, 2015 has been declared “National Fire Prevention Week,” with the theme “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep.” The key message of this year’s campaign, is to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement. Larger homes may need more alarms.

Take these simple steps to ensure that your smoke alarms are working properly:

  • Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home; when one sounds, they all will.
  • Test alarms at least monthly.
  • Replace alkaline batteries twice a year;
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they don’t respond properly.

According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.

  • Practice home fire drills. Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when it goes off.
  • Make an escape plan so everyone knows two ways out of the house and the location of an outdoor meeting place.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Go to your outside meeting place.
  • Call the fire department from outside the home.

Many potential fire hazards go undetected because people simply do not take steps to fireproof their home. Lawsuit Financial encourages everyone to follow these tips to increase fire safety and prevention all year long. To learn more about smoke alarms visit NFPA’s Web site at

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.

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