Many of us have a love-hate relationship with the smoke detector; we know that we are safer if there should be a fire, but hate it when something burns in the kitchen or the battery runs low. The piercing shriek sends the dogs howling and gets the ears ringing. If it happened at your home or apartment, you were probably tempted to take the batteries out of the darned thing until you could clear the smoke and the screeching noise was gone. Don’t!
Removing smoke detectors batteries can turn deadly. All too often, fire crews respond to fires where there were no batteries in the smoke detector and someone was hurt.
Having a working smoke detector can reduce your risk of dying in a home fire by half. That’s why the National Fire Protection Association asks us all to be alert this fall. Late fall and winter are when the number of home fires spikes.
While we depend on firefighters to put out fires and save lives, we all need to do more to protect our families until they can get there.
Here’s what you can do the make your family and home safer:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in all bedrooms
- Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries once a year (normally the Sunday when Daylight Saving ends)
- Replace smoke detectors every ten years
- Practice fire drills and evacuations
Smoke alarms can cost as little as $15 for those that use batteries, hardwired models will cost more. Some fire departments offer low-cost or free smoke detectors for families with financial hardships.
There should be one placed in every bedroom, outside sleeping areas and on every floor of a home.
Here are some important things to remember about home fires:
- Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, followed by heating equipment
- Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths
- Only one-third of Americans have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan
These safety tips can prevent a fire at your home:
- Never leave food unattended on the stove or in the oven
- Avoid using candles and if you do make sure they are away from flammable materials and extinguished when you leave the room
- Don’t smoke in bed
- Have your furnace inspected every year by a heating professional
- Keep portable heaters three feet away from flammable materials
- Don’t use frayed cords and don’t overload outlets