Firefighters recommend having a meeting point outside and talking to your family ahead of time about different scenarios.
"People always go back trying to save someone and end up getting injured," explained HFD Captain Ruy Lozano.
He said an escape ladder is what he uses for his daughter's upstairs bedroom.
"She pulls the velcro and it rapidly deploys a ladder for her to climb out. Is it risky? Yes -- but what's riskier, climbing down this ladder or staying in a burning home?" he asked.
For families who are not financially able to buy smoke detectors, the fire department can help.
Two firefighters will arrive at your home and make sure it meets national standards. Fire experts say burglar bars shouldn't be permanently fixed.
"You should really have something where you can walk up, unlatch and open your burglar bar inward and allow you to get out. It still serves its purpose, but you should have that exit strategy ready," said Lozano.
While replacing batteries in smoke detectors has been a longtime suggestion, firefighters now recommend a 10-year, worry-free detector with a lithium battery.
For more information on HFD's smoke detector program for those who can't afford them, visit HoustonFire.org.
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