Home is where your heart is and many hazards too! October 5-11 is Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme is “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives, Test Yours Every Month.” According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), working smoke detectors reduce your chances from dying in a home fire by over 50 percent. Fifty percent!
Those are great odds of survival, especially for such an inexpensive piece of equipment that provides such an important service. And even better odds for your precious family and home.
When deciding which smoke detectors to buy or replace, there are several things you will need to know about your smoke detectors. Are the smoke detectors wired into the electricity of the home or do they operate from a battery only? Is the smoke detector an ionization type or a photo electric type? Where should your smoke detectors be placed in the home? These questions may leave someone puzzled or confused. Just know you that are not alone. Fire protection can be a complicated issue and the fact that you have read this far indicates that there are some questions that I should provide you answers for.
First, a great source of information is your local fire department. The women and men that serve the community every day as firefighters and fire inspectors are great resources for information. May I suggest a day trip with your children to stop in at your local fire station, meet the firefighters and gain some knowledge about the smoke detectors in your home? Perhaps you wondered what that chirping sound was upstairs. Was it a cricket or is it your smoke detector telling you its batteries are almost dead? Don’t guess. Contact the local fire department and request them to check it out for you. The firefighters are happy to provide you more information than just when to test the smoke detectors. They can tell you the types, direct you on the installation or maybe even be willing to install them for you. While fire departments try to assist in many of these ways, their main job is to protect the family and homes before fire strikes through education.
Another great source of information can be found in a Fire Protection Company. There are actually companies that offer their services for a fee to install smoke detectors, repair and replace fire extinguishers and provide expert opinions about the products available to protect your family. These companies offer many levels of technology and are great sources of information. When dealing with any company, and especially those that protect something as precious as your family and home, be sure that you deal with someone who is licensed and bonded. Ask the company for references. A reputable company will have no problem with providing references to you. After all, it is your money, your family and your home so YOU have a lot to lose if you do not do your homework!
Besides protective equipment that can be placed in your home, there are some other ways to keep your home “fire safe.” A complete list of these items can be found at http://nfpa.org/safey-information/fire-prevention-week . Here are some of the most important:
*Do not smoke in your home! Smoking is a leading cause of home fire deaths.
*Never leave cooking fires unattended! Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, with UNATTENDED cooking fires being the chief reason.
*Children and the elderly should be assisted and monitored around ovens, stoves, microwaves and heaters. Children and elderly are at a higher risk of being burned in the homes.
*Use candles carefully and away from flammable furnishings. Candles are the cause of a third of all bedroom fires.
*Practice alternate escape routes from your home and a common meeting place. Human nature is to try to exit the home the way that is easiest or most used. Discuss the use of windows, back doors and arrange a meeting place that is easy — mailbox, fire hydrant, next door neighbor.
*Smoke detectors should be located inside the bedroom and immediately outside of the bedrooms in the hallways and exit areas. Smoke detectors are not recommended for the kitchen.
*A smoke detector is only as good as its batteries. Test the smoke detector monthly and, when testing the smoke detector, go ahead and practice your family’s exit plan. Make it a neighborhood event. It is a great way to meet your neighbors and protect your family and friends.
Your home should be where you feel the safest and should not have to worry about your family’s well-being. By following some of the provided tips, and those on the website above, you can keep your heart in your home where it belongs and the hazards out!