Quiz: Are You Failing to Protect Your Family From a Fire?

Answer: The real answer is:”Not as much time as you think.” Modern furnishings are made mostly with artificial fibers that burn hot and fast. compared to the natural fibers of the past. According to testing done by Underwriters Laboratories, 30 years ago you probably had about 20 minutes to get out of your house alive. Today you have just 3 to 4 minutes.

There is a product that can help you make better use of this precious window: interconnected or linked smoke detectors. These detectors are connected to each other wirelessly. Here’s why that’s so helpful: Say there’s a fire in your basement. Normally, the detector in your bedroom won’t go off until the smoke reaches it. With linked detectors, if there’s a fire in your basement, the detector in your bedroom will go off immediately, triggered by the one in the basement, giving you more time to escape your home alive.

5. Question: What’s the average price range of a smoke detector?

A: $6-$20

B: $20-$30

C: $30-$40

D: $40-$50

Answer: Of course, the answer is A, $6-$20, according to the US Fire Administration. Certainly you can spend more for fancier devices, but it’s not necessary. In fact, you can almost certainly get smoke detectors for free. Most local fire departments offer free detectors —and will even install them for you— either year-round or during fire prevention week in October.

If what’s holding you back is looks, not price, (Hey, I know you people are out there), there’s even an answer for that these days. Some companies have begun producing smaller, more stylish smoke alarms that match your decor, in finishes like wood grain and stainless steel.

Opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.

Elisabeth Leamy is a 20-year consumer advocate for programs including "Good Morning America" and "The Dr. Oz Show." She is the author of Save BIG and The Savvy Consumer. Elisabeth is also a professional speaker, delivering talks nationwide on saving money, media relations, and career success. Elisabeth receives her best story tips from readers, so please connect with her via Facebook, Twitter or her website, to share your ideas.

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