Did you know that over 92 percent of homes and other dwellings in the US have at least one smoke detector? While that seems like a positive fact, The Fire Safety Institute estimates that 1 in 3 of these smoke alarms does not work properly. Typically, smoke alarms fail to work properly for two reasons, homeowners either forget to follow proper testing procedures or they never replace dead batteries. As your trusted local home insurance agent, we want to help make sure that you and your family are safe and protected in your home. Help keep your family safe year round by following our fire and carbon monoxide safety tips below.
Keep Your Family Safe from Common Threats in the Home
1. Install Smoke Alarms
You should install smoke alarms in every room of your home, including the hallways. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that homeowners use interconnected smoke alarms in the home because if one alarm is tripped then others will sound as well. This means that if a fire starts downstairs in the basement while you’re asleep, the alarms will alert your family on the second floor.
2. Check Smoke Alarms
Fire safety specialists also recommend that homeowners test their smoke alarms once a month. Simply follow the directions outlined on your smoke alarm system to test that each alarm is in good working order. Replace batteries as needed and avoid using life-long batteries in older smoke alarms.
3. Replace Old Smoke Alarms
Your smoke alarms should be replaced every decade. After about ten years of use, most smoke alarms have a 30 percent failure rate. Vacuuming smoke alarms at least once annually will also help to remove dust and dirt build-up, which is a major factor found in faulty alarms.
4. Learn How to Use Fire Extinguishers
There are a variety of different fire extinguisher options available on the market today. However, The National Fire Protection Association recommends that homeowners invest in multi-purpose fire extinguishers that are large enough to put out small fires but can still be handled easily. Fire extinguishers are best used in the event of a fire that isn’t spreading and is contained within a small area, such as a garbage can.
When using your fire extinguisher remember “PASS”:
- P – Pull the pin
- A – Aim low
- S – Squeeze the lever slowly
- S – Sweep the nozzle from side to side
5. Carbon Monoxide Detectors
All fuel-burning appliances in your home produce a small amount of carbon monoxide. Typically, these gasses are easily carried out of the home, but in certain cases, something can go wrong. Carbon monoxide leaks can be very dangerous, so installing detectors on every level of your home is very important. Alarms should be placed five feet from the ground to get the best reading of the air in your home. Other placement considerations include:
- Near sleeping areas
- Near attached garages
- Near home utilities such as a furnace or water heater
Avoid placing detectors in direct sunlight, close to fuel-burning appliances or humid areas, like the bathroom.
Protect Your Family with Comprehensive Home Insurance
With the help of a comprehensive home insurance policy and a few simple safety steps, you can protect your family and your assets in the event of a fire or other disaster. Want to make sure you have the right level of insurance protection to meet your family’s needs? Contact us at Gary Ellis Insurance for more information and be sure to request a quote today.