Family safety starts in the home. You may have heard about a recent fire in the Shawano area, so now is a good time to check up on your home fire and carbon monoxide prevention setup. Read on for important information about the home safety devices you need to keep your family safe:
Home fire safety begins with smoke alarms, so make sure your home is protected with an alarm on every level of your house, including the basement. There should also be an alarm in every bedroom or near every sleeping area.
There are different types of smoke alarms available: some are battery-powered while others are wired directly to your home’s electrical system. There are also interconnected smoke alarms—in the event that one goes off, all of the others sound their alarm, too, for added protection. Nest provides more information about the advantages of interconnected smoke alarms over their standalone counterparts.
Inspect your smoke alarms regularly to keep them functional and up to date:
- Monthly: test each smoke alarm
- Annually: replace units with new batteries
- Every ten years: replace the entire alarm
It’s also important to regularly check online for any product recalls. This notice from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, for example, details a recent Kidde recall.
Home fire extinguishers are a necessity in every home, but keep in mind that there are different types, each optimized for particular kinds of fires. For fire safety, the average home usually requires the following:
- Class A, for ordinary fires, including burning wood, cloth, paper, and plastic
- Class C, for electrical fires, where a short circuit or overloaded electrical outlet sets fire to nearby combustible items
- Class K, for kitchen fires, where grease or hot oils catch fire while cooking
If you have any doubts about putting out a fire, leave the house immediately and contact the fire department. You can learn more from OHSA about fire extinguisher use, but most extinguishers operate the same way:
- Pull the pin to break the tamper seal
- Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle to spray the extinguishing agent.
- Wave the nozzle at the fire in a sweeping motion from side to side, covering the area of the fire.
Once again, stay in-the-know about the fire extinguisher brand in your home and regularly check for any product recalls, like this one from Kidde.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms
CO is known as the “silent killer.” It’s an odorless gas that can come from any fuel-burning appliance, such as your stove, furnace or water heater. That’s why working carbon monoxide alarms are an absolute necessity in your home—one on every level of your house, close to sleeping areas and bedrooms.
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations for placement, but generally, CO alarms should be at least five feet above the ground and should not be too close to any fuel-burning appliances. If your house has an attached garage, a CO alarm should be installed near the garage door. For maintenance, test units monthly and replace the batteries once a year. It’s advised you replace the entire unit every five to seven years.
CO alarms detect high levels of the gas and then sound their alarm—and if this happens, it’s important to immediately leave your home and contact professionals for help.
Make fire and CO gas prevention your top priority to keep your family safe at home. And remember to talk to your insurance agent for more helpful advice—and to make sure your home is protected from related losses.