Setting the clocks back this weekend: A great time to go over fire safety with the family

SEATTLE -- A lot of us look forward to being able to grab that extra hour of sleep when we set our clocks back November 2nd; but it's also a great time of year to make sure you and your family are prepared in case of a fire.

Local firefighter Tim Woodland stopped by our studio to show us the proper way to check/test your smoke alarm; how to properly use a fire extinguisher (how man of us have those in our home but aren't entirely sure how to use them?) and to go over the top 5 tips for fire safety at home (we've also listed them below).

Tim is also training for The Scott Firefighter Stairclimb, one of the most physically challenging competitions in the world, raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). The event, on March 8th, 2015, has nearly 2,000 firefighters climbing the 69 flights of stairs up the Columbia Tower - in FULL gear! To learn more about the event and how to support local firefighters and LLS, click HERE. 

The Top 5 Tips for Fire Safety at Home:

No. 1: Cook with caution.

Nearly half of all home fires are cooking-related, says the National Fire Protection Association. And, of these, unattended cooking is the leading factor. So, stay in the kitchen if you’re cooking, and, if you have to leave — even for a short time —be sure to turn off the stove.

No. 2: Never leave space heaters unattended.

Heating systems, especially space heaters and wooden stoves, can easily ignite nearby household items. Keep all space heaters at least three feet from household items. Turn heaters off before leaving a room or going to sleep. Never leave pets or children unsupervised with a space heater or wooden stove (the NFPA recommends a 3-foot “kid-free zone”); in addition to the risk of starting a fire, heaters and stoves pose a danger of burns, as well.

No. 3: Check your electrical cords.

Faulty, cracked or deteriorating electrical cords can cause an electrical fire. Check all your electrical cords for fraying or other signs of wear, and replace or repair any damage. Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpeting. And do not overload circuits; plug in only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time, the NFPA says; consider hiring an electrician to add additional circuits or outlets if you need them.

No. 4: Replace open-flame candles with LED-powered versions.

With seasonal decorations covering tabletops and mantles, lighting real candles can be an invitation to disaster. Instead, the NFPA suggests choosing battery-operated candles, like LED versions. They flicker and sometimes even smell like the real thing! If you must have candles, the NFPA says blow them out when you leave the room or go to sleep; use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t topple; and keep all candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

No.5: Make a family fire safety plan and practice it. What should you do if you hear the smoke alarm in the middle of the night? Talk to your family about where you should go and what you should all do in the event of a fire. There should be two ways to escape from every room (in case one way is blocked by fire.) And you should pick a location outside — a neighbor's house, a big tree, a nearby park — where everyone can meet. Don't just talk about the safety plan —run through your plan to make sure everyone knows what to do. Check windows and screens to make sure that they will open if necessary. And practice meeting up at your assigned location outside