Protecting Families With First Alert – Fire Safety Month #SuperPreparedFamily
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I have been very fortunate – never in my life have I had to worry about losing everything to a home fire. That doesn’t mean I am not concerned about it. We take all the precautions we can to make sure we remain as safe as possible. I cannot ignore the fact that our home was built in 1925. The electrical system has been completely redone over the years but still – all precautions must be taken. Why? Because each year nearly 3,000 American die from home fires. Many of these fatalities could be prevented with proper placement and maintenance of working smoke alarms, as well as prior emergency and escape planning. I have no intention of letting my family become a part of this statistic and my heart breaks for all those who are.
What is the very first thing we should do? Ensure properly functioning smoke alarms are installed throughout the home – one on each level and in every bedroom, as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends. This is the first line of defense for everyone for fire prevention. They must also be tested regularly for proper alarm and battery function and be replaced every ten years.
Another major concern is CO which is often referred to as the “silent killer” since it is colorless and odorless and impossible to detect without an alarm. It is even more devastating since it is very difficult to diagnose – often until it is too late. The symptoms mimic those of many other illnesses including nausea, headaches, dizziness, weakness, chest pain and vomiting. In more severe poisoning cases, people may experience disorientation or unconsciousness, or suffer long-term neurological disabilities, cardio-respiratory failure or death.
It is easy to forget to check your alarms. We do so every single time the seasons change – so on the first full day of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter – every smoke alarm and CO alarm gets checked. Come up with some system that will make it easy for you to remember rather than trying to remember exactly how long ago you checked them. Smoke alarms and newer carbon monoxide alarms last for 10-years – not forever! When alarms are due for replacement, upgrading your level of protection with devices containing 10-year sealed batteries, which offer tamper-proof, hassle-free protection while eliminating the need to replace batteries for the life of the alarms is the best solution.
Not all alarms are the same or equal. When considering alarm replacement, it is important to consider each home’s specific needs to make sure the home is properly equipped throughout the home with both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. A variety of smoke alarms, including combination and 10-year battery powered models, are available to meet specific needs and local legislation requirements.
October is Fire Prevention Month and that is a great time to do a home safety checklist (if you don’t already have one). Items on a good safety checklist include testing alarm functionality, keeping track of expiration dates and replacing alarms as needed, ensuring alarms are installed on every level, and planning and practicing your family’s escape route. Other annual items such as professionally servicing the furnace and ensuring dryer vents are clean also should make the checklist. Make sure you have an escape plan and practice it periodically. Just like drills are practiced in schools – they must be practiced at home. When an emergency happens it will be second nature to do what you are supposed to do – because you practiced it! Make sure this plan identifies two ways out of every room – which can include windows and doors – and make sure everyone in the home understands the plan. This is something that older children can help create – it is fun to get the whole family involved! In our case we have an autistic son – this means extra practicing in the event a real emergency happens.
In our town we also let the local fire departments and police departments know that our home is a multigenerational home (4 generations) and the types of special needs that are in our home.
Not only are we always concerned about fire prevention at home – but we also own four horses and board them across town. Too often we read about fires at barns – there can be many hazards in a barn, often due to the age of the facility. Our barn is not immune to that. Fortunately the horses are outside most of the time.
The SA3210 is great overall protection because it has both types of smoke sensors recommended by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
The PRC710 provides both smoke and CO safety.
The CO710 is a nice table-top addition, and can be easily added to any room.
The P1010 is a nice addition to your home’s safety, ideal for the bedroom.