Does your family have a fire escape plan?

On average, U.S. firemen respond to a fire every 23 seconds.

So ask yourself, do you have working smoke alarms? What's your family's emergency exit plan?

October is national fire prevention month and Quincy's bravest want to make sure you're family is prepared.

Starting with your first line of defense ... smoke detectors.

"It was proven that smoke detectors give you a two time better chance of surviving that fire," Quincy Fireman, Jerry Mast, said.

That's why you need to change its battery every six months and test it monthly. Make sure you place a detector fifteen feet from every sleeping area in the house and at least one on every level of the home, but be sure to keep them out of one room.

"We try to ask people to keep them out of the kitchens due to the nuisance alarms from cooking," Mast said. "We don't want these to become food timers."

If you do wake up in a smoke filled home, the first thing you should do is get on the floor, crawl to the door and touch it.

"You can't open a warm door because that means there's fire on the other side," Fireman Michael Dade, from the Quincy Fire Departments Public Education Team, said. And they have to have a second way out.

"The big message this year is having two ways out," Quincy firefighter Jerry Smith said. "We encourage anyone that has any family members on the second floor to purchase one of these fire escape ladders."

Once outside the house, your family should have a meeting place where you can all gather to make sure everyone is safe.

Making these decisions now, before a fire is crucial to you family's safety because ...
"The most efficient ways we can fight fires is through prevention," Dade said ... And knowledge.