There’s no place like home and the sense of security it provides. But is your family as safe as you think? Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors can mean the difference between life and death, which is why you need both—no ifs, ands or buts.
What You Need to Know About Smoke Alarms
A survey from the National Fire Prevention Association shows:
- The risk of dying in reported home structure fires is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
- Three of five home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.
Many local or state laws require at least one smoke detector on every level of your home. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends smoke alarms be installed on every level of the house, outside sleeping areas and inside each bedroom.
In addition, your family should create a home escape plan with two exits from any room in the house, and practice it at least twice a year.
What to Do When the Smoke Alarm Sounds
- Feel the door to see if it’s hot. If so, use alternate exits.
- Crawl on the floor. Smoke rises and grows hotter the higher it goes. Stay on the floor where you’re less likely to breathe smoke or feel the heat.
- Meet at a pre-arranged spot outside.
- Call the fire department from a neighbor’s home.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Commonly known as the silent killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year at least 430 people in the U.S. die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. The CDC recommends changing CO detector batteries every six months.
CO gas can be produced by portable generators, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. Some experts suggest placing a CO detector near any major gas-burning appliances, such as a furnace or a water heater. Here are more ways to protect your family and yourself for months:
- Have home heating systems, chimneys and vents professionally service and inspected every year.
- Never use a gas range or oven for heating.
- Never bring a gas grill inside for heating or cooking, and never use one in the garage.
- Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool.
- Never use portable generators inside homes or garages, even if the windows are open.
6 Common Symptoms of CO Poisoning
The signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can easily be confused with symptoms of the flu. Never hesitate to call 911 if you suspect someone has been exposed to CO fumes or shows symptoms of CO poisoning like:
- Chest pain
American Home Shield cares about the safety of homeowners and their families. Make sure to keep your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in tact to maintain your home's security.
Source: Information reproduced from National Fire Prevention Association
information, ©NFPA 2014.
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