• One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to have a working smoke alarm that can sound fast for both a fire that has flames, and a smoky fire that has fumes without flames. It is called a "Dual Sensor Smoke Alarm." Place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of every level of your home and outside bedrooms. Children and older people can sleep through the loud sound of a smoke alarm.
• Make sure your escape plan includes someone who can help children and others wake up immediately to escape from the home.
• If you keep your bedroom doors closed, place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of each bedroom.
Check smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button.
• Never take smoke alarm batteries out to put into other items like games or remote controls.
Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear the alarm sound.
If there is a fire, leave the home right away by crawling low under the smoke. Never go back inside.
• If smoke from cooking makes the alarm sound, press the "hush" button, if your alarm has one. You can also turn on the kitchen fan, open a window or wave a towel near the alarm until it stops making the sound. Never take the battery out of the alarm.
Most alarms need a new battery at least once a year. Some smoke alarms have batteries that last for up to 10 years. If your smoke alarm is more than 10 years old, replace it with a new alarm and a new battery.
• If you rent, talk to your landlord about placing a working smoke alarm in your home. You still need to buy a new battery at least once a year for the alarm.
Source: Chattanooga Fire Department
A Monday night house blaze claimed Chattanooga's first fire fatality of the year.
Firefighters responded to a home at 1332 Highland Way in Hixson and found the house engulfed in flames, making it unsafe for them to search for victims.
Capt. Brent Arnold said the heat and flames were too dangerous for firefighters, according to Bruce Garner, public information director for the Chattanooga Fire Department.
Firefighters were ordered to fight the fire defensively and to keep it from spreading to nearby houses.
When the fire was extinguished, firefighters found a victim in a back bedroom. Courtney D. Godwin, 24, died of smoke inhalation, according to the Hamilton County medical examiner's office.
Haley Neal, 29, escaped the burning house by climbing out of a bedroom window. She was taken to Erlanger hospital by emergency medical services personnel, where she was treated for smoke inhalation and released, according to Garner.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the fire department's Fire Investigation Division. The Major Crimes Division of the Chattanooga Police Department also is involved, standard protocol when fatalities or serious injuries are involved, Garner said.
Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6592.