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How to survive a house fire

According to the Red Cross, the odds of surviving a fire increase 50 percent if you have a working smoke alarm. (FILE)

In the past two days, three people have died in home fires in Oklahoma City. According to the Oklahoma City Fire Department, all of the fatal house fires this year and last have one thing in common.

None of the homes had working smoke alarms.

“Smoke alarms are not an option,” said Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson with the Oklahoma City Fire Department. "You absolutely have to have working smoke alarms to give you that early notification if your house is on fire."

A house fire spreads fast, doubling its size ever minute, so getting out quickly will save your life.

“A lot of people think the fire will wake them up, the smoke will wake them up,” said Fulkerson. “That’s just not true. Many studies have proven that smoke does not wake you up. You have to have a smoke alarm to give you that early notification.”

Fulkerson says there’s no excuse not to have one if you live in Oklahoma City. OKCFD gives them out for free to residents.

“All you need to do is call or go by your local fire station, let us know you need one, and our firefighters will bring those out, install those in your home for you,” he said.

Your odds of surviving a fire increase 50 percent if you have a working smoke alarm, according to the Red Cross.

“When you hear that alarm, it’s telling you to do one thing, and that one thing is to get out,” Fulkerson said.

Fulkerson says everyone in your home needs to know two ways out of every room, which could mean going through the door or through a window. Then pick a place in your neighborhood for everyone to meet after they’ve evacuated, so you know who’s accounted for and who’s still inside. Practice your escape plan at least once a year with the entire family.

Having a smoke alarm, combined with an escape plan, can mean the difference between life and death.

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