A house fire is a devastating and life-changing experience. But it doesn't have to be. Every year thousands of families are effected by household fires. Making sure your home is equipped with smoke alarms, flashlights, and conducting simple random checks is essential for any safe home.

Flickr User Anthony Quintano

We’ve partnered up with the team at Batteries Plus to provide with you five simple tips to keep your family and home safe and prevent a fire. Text the word ‘BATTERY” to 89000 for a free 9V battery, courtesy of Batteries Plus. Also, by texting to 89000, you will automatically be entered a contest to win a $500 gift card!

1. Test Your Smoke Detectors

Keep yourself safe by installing a smoke detector on every floor in your home. If it's possible, each bedroom should also have a separate detector for added safety. Replace the batteries twice per year coinciding with the change in Daylight Savings Time as an easy reminder and practice family fire drills.

2. Be Cautious While Cooking

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly half of all home fires are due to cooking-related incidents,. Make sure you keep fire extinguisher ready in case of open flames on the stove or splattered cooking oil. Check to ensure that the extinguisher is rated for both grease and electrical fires. To insure proper use, follow these simple steps. P.A.S.S.: Pull the pin. Aim the nozzle at the fire’s base. Squeeze the nozzle to spray. Sweep back and forth while spraying the fire’s base.

3. Replace Your Candles

With so many flammable items in your home taking a chance lighting real candles can be an invitation for disaster. Instead, as a safer option choose battery-operated candles. They resemble and perform just like the real thing but are much safer for home fire protection.

4. Do Not Leave Portable Heaters Unattended

One of the more common causes of home fires is believe it or not, heating. During winter months, portable, electrical space heaters can cause a great deal of problems, as bedding or curtains accidentally can come in contact with the heater and cause a fire.

5. Check Your Electrical Chords for Safety

Faulty, cracked or deteriorating electrical cords can cause sparks -to something like your family’s Christmas tree for instance, and quickly set off a fire. Be sure to check all your electrical cords for fraying or other signs of wear and tear. Never overload circuits and by plugging too much into the wall and instead, use a power strip instead.

These 5 steps highlighted above may sound like basic advice, but they are easy tips that can save lives. All too often these steps can mean the difference between life and death. What steps do you take to protect your home? Discuss below.

Don’t forget to text the word ‘BATTERY” to 89000 for a free 9V battery and more helpful fire prevention tips. Also, by texting to 89000 you will automatically be entered a contest to win a $500 gift card, courtesy of our friends at Batteries Plus!