Keeping your family safe is your number one priority. If you’re living in the Springfield, MO area, the local fire department responded to 17,592 calls in 2017—up from 16,301 calls in 2016. Now is the time to check on your home safety setup. Here’s some important information about common household safety devices to keep in mind:
The first line of defense in home fire safety is a smoke alarm. There are several types of smoke alarms: some are battery-powered, while others are powered by your home’s electrical system. The latter usually have a battery backup for the event of a power failure. There are also interconnected smoke alarms where if one goes off, all of the alarms go off, too. See this resource from Nest for details.
Place an alarm on every floor of your house—including the basement—and in every bedroom or sleeping area. And just like any home device, smoke alarms require regular inspection:
- Test your smoke alarms every month
- Replace the batteries once a year with new batteries
- Replace the entire unit every 10 years.
And regularly check online for any product recalls, like this notice from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission about a recent Kidde recall.
Fire extinguishers are a must-have. OSHA provides details on the different types and sizes, but these are wise to have on-hand in the average home:
- 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
You can learn more from OHSA about fire extinguisher use, but it’s is a relatively intuitive process:
- 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
Don’t take any unnecessary risks: leave your home immediately if you are not sure that you can put out a fire on your own.
And again, check up on your particular brand of fire extinguisher for any product recalls, like this one from Kidde.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms
CO alarms are essential to have in your house if you have fuel-burning appliances such as a stove, water heater or furnace, which can emit the odorless gas. CO gas has been called a “silent killer” because victims aren’t usually aware of its presence until it’s too late.
Every floor of your house should have a CO alarm, especially near sleeping areas and bedrooms. If your garage is attached to your home, install an alarm near the door. Generally, CO alarms should be at least five feet above the ground and should not be near any fuel-burning appliances, but be sure to read the manufacturer’s placement recommendations for details. For maintenance, test your CO alarms monthly and replace batteries annually. Units can be replaced every five to seven years.
If an alarm detects dangerously high levels of the CO gas and sounds an alarm, leave your home right away and contact professionals who can check for the source of the leak and take other necessary actions to make your appliances safe for use in your home.
Fire and CO gas prevention will help keep your family safe at home. Contact your insurance agent for more helpful advice and to make sure you’re protected from any related losses.