Home Fire Prevention and Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

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Nothing is more important than the safety of your family.  Protecting yourselves, your home, and your property needs to be a top priority.  Unfortunately, safety precautions are occasionally overlooked or forgotten about which creates a dangerous situation.

There are some sobering facts about the dangers of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.  Did you know that 60% of deaths caused by a home fire was a result of a non-operating smoke detector?  It only takes a matter of minutes for a fire to rapidly spread out of control.  A working smoke detector can save your life.

Carbon Monoxide (CO), also known as the silent killer, is next to impossible for a human to detect.  This odorless and colorless gas is responsible for over 150 deaths per year. Having a working CO detector is just as important to have in your home as a smoke detector.

The best way to protect your family from either of these tragic killers is to have an escape plan in place, take notice of some basic safety tips and to ensure you have monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that work throughout your home.

Basic Fire Prevention Tips

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Using common sense and following some basic safety tips can prevent a tragedy from happening in the first place.  Here are some basic fire safety tips you can follow.

  • Do not overload electrical outlets with too many appliances.
  • Keep combustible items (curtains, dishtowels, furniture, etc.) at least 3 feet from any open flame or source of heat.
  • Never leave a burning cigarette unattended. It is also advisable not to smoke in bed as you could possibly fall asleep before extinguishing it.
  • Discard any appliance with damaged electrical cords. Same goes for extension cords.
  • Keep lighters and matches away from the reach of children.
  • At a minimum, install a smoke detector on every level of your home. One near or in each bedroom is advised.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen. If you have a two story or large home, consider adding another fire extinguisher with easy access elsewhere in the home.

Basic Carbon Monoxide Prevention Tips

Preventing CO accidents is just as important as fire prevention.  Here are some dos and don’ts that can help keep you out of harm’s way.

  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Install a CO detector on every level of your home. Make sure to regularly check the batteries. At least twice per year.  A good habit to get into is checking them when you change your clocks for daylight savings.
  • Never use a grill, generator or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device within your home. These items must be used outside and be kept away from any open windows. Gasoline powered items should be kept at least 20 feet from your home.
  • Do not run your vehicle inside your garage even if the garage door is open.
  • Make sure your stove and fireplace are properly vented.

Of all the tips above, having properly installed detectors is one of the most important.  They are your first line of defense against fires and CO poisoning.

Monitored fire and CO detectors add yet another layer of protection.  A monitored alarm will sound a loud alarm at your home.  The added benefit of a monitored alarm is that our monitoring center will know instantly so we can dispatch the fire department.  This can not only save lives, but can dramatically reduce property damage with a quick response time.

Properly installed detectors are crucial as well.  Smoke detectors need to be placed on the ceiling or no more than a foot from the ceiling if mounted on the wall.  Again, it is best to have smoke detectors installed on each level of the house and in or near every bedroom.

There are also two different types of smoke detectors available, ionization and photoelectric.  Ionization detectors are best suited for “fast flame” fires whereas photoelectric smoke alarms are best at detecting smoldering fires.

Carbon Monoxide detectors need to be installed on every level of your home, including the basement, and in each bedroom if you want your home to have the maximum protection.  Make sure that CO detectors are installed 5 feet off the ground so they can get the best reading.

You should also install one near your garage because a running vehicle can quickly produce this deadly gas.  A CO detector near your attached garage will warn you if that happens.

Develop an Escape Plan

Just as important as hearing an alarm is how you plan to react to it.  Make sure you and your family create multiple escape routes and practice them.  Having multiple escape routes is extremely important in case the most apparent escape route is blocked by fire.

It is a good idea to have escape ladders stored in every upper level room of a two-story home.  They are inexpensive and easy to store in a closet or under a bed.

Finally, make sure to designate a meeting point for your family in case of emergency.  This way you will know that everyone is safe and accounted for.

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