Because of the holidays, my family cooks and entertains a lot more than usual. Also because of the holidays, we hang lights up around the house, plug in the extension cords, and occasionally burn candles. As the temperature, we turn up the heat and pull out the electric blankets. But all of those activities raise the risk of household fires. I have reason enough to take a tour around my house and check to see if my smoke alarms are working accurately. Unfortunately things can go wrong and every year they do in large numbers.
My family has a plan about what to do if our house does catch on fire. We have a meeting place outside the home and have talked over our plan with some of our trusted neighbors. But the biggest thing we can do to lower our fire risk is also the easiest – install working smoke alarms.
Below is a checklist and information from Kidde, makers of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, to assist you in making sure your home is safe this winter.
One in four older homes needs to update fire safety equipment. How old are your alarms?
· Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. Replace CO alarms every five to 10 years, based on the model.
· Purchase an alarm with a 10-year sealed lithium battery, such as Kidde Worry-Free smoke and CO alarms, to receive hassle-free protection for a decade — no need to change a battery or hear a low battery chirp. Available nationwide at retailers like The Home Depot and Walmart, each alarm installed will save you $40 over its life in battery costs.
· Smoke detector technology has come a long way – are yours up to date? On the newest models, a digital display shows the level of CO in the air and updates the reading every 15 seconds. An intelligent multi-sensor responds faster to real fires and CO, plus it reduces nuisance alarms like those commonly caused by cooking. And an end-of-life warning (which sounds more ominous than it actually is) lets you know when to replace your alarms.
Seventy-five percent of homeowners don’t know where to install smoke alarms. Do you have one on every floor, and inside/outside all bedrooms?
· Choose alarms with room-specific features, such as an LED light in the hallway, or a voice notification for the bedroom.
· Place a CO alarm near sleeping areas and on each floor. Keep them 10 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.
Do you need other safety products?
· Fire extinguisher – place one within reach in rooms where fires often begin: kitchen, garage, bedroom, living area
· Escape ladder – place in second and third-floor rooms as an alternative escape route
Have you developed a family escape plan?
· Practice it regularly. Know two ways out of every room and who will assist children and loved ones with mobility/health issues.
Do your children know their address and how to dial 911?
· Post your home address and emergency phone numbers on the refrigerator.
Are your appliances and chimney winter-ready?
· Have a professional inspect fuel-burning appliances to ensure they function properly and that they vent outside.
· Have a professional clean or inspect fireplaces annually. Birds and small animals can make nests and leaves can build up on top of the chimney, preventing carbon monoxide from venting properly.
· Have you created a 3-foot clutter free zone around fireplaces, space heaters or wood stoves?
For a downloadable winter home project checklist and other information, visit www.worryfreealarm.com.
*This is a sponsored post.