NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Recent deadly fires highlight the need to make sure your family is prepared in the event of an emergency.

A family of six, including four children, were not able to escape a fire in their public housing apartment last week in Harlem. Also last week, a woman died in a fire inside her Upper East Side apartment.

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So what can people to do help keep themselves and their families safe from a devastating fire?

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Gerard Fitzgerald, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, stopped by CBSN New York to discuss it with Dana Tyler. He’s an expert in fire safety.

His suggestions?

  • Always have an emergency plan for people in your home or apartment
  • Designate a meet-up place and rehearse it as a family.
  • Once you are out, stay out. Do no go back to get your electronics, pets, etc.
  • Rehearse your exit with your eyes closed so you know how to get out of the building if you can’t see because of smoke
  • Test smoke alarms and CO detectors and change batteries seasonally, especially when people change the clocks twice a year
  • Make sure that cords are charging the proper voltage of electronics: Read the labels and know if your appliance requires more voltage than the cord can carry
  • Never use cheap extension cords and phone chargers
  • Do not charge your phone on your bed, on clothes or other very flammable material as they are fuel for fire and can cause fire
  • Do not use illegal space heaters
  • Never use an oven to heat your home
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of fire
  • Be aware of candle placement neat combustible materials like drapes and curatains
  • Don’t forget to clean lint filters from dryers regularly
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