Your family and their safety are your top priority. The River Falls Fire Department responded to 246 calls in 2016, slightly down from the previous year. So take the time and check on your home safety setup. Here’s some important information about household safety devices to have in your home:
The most important defense in home fire safety is a smoke alarm. There are different types of smoke alarms to consider: some are battery-powered, and others can be wired to your home’s electrical system and have a battery backup as well in the event of a power failure. There are also interconnected smoke alarms where if one goes off, all of them go off. Nest provides more information about these interconnected devices.
It’s best practice to install an alarm on every level of your house—including the basement—and in every bedroom or sleeping area. And make sure to inspect them regularly:
- Test your smoke alarms every month
- Replace the batteries once a year with new batteries
- Replace the entire unit every 10 years
And check online regularly for any product recalls, like this notice from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission about a recent Kidde recall.
Fire extinguishers are also essential to have in your home. There are different types and sizes, but these are the common extinguishers found in the average home:
- Class A, for ordinary fires, including burning wood, cloth, paper, and plastic
- Class C, for electrical fires, where a short circuit or overloaded electrical outlet sets fire to nearby combustible items
- Class K, for kitchen fires, where grease or hot oils catch fire while cooking
As with other devices, it’s important to check on your brand of fire extinguisher for any product recalls, such as this one from Kidde.
You can learn more from OHSA about proper fire extinguisher use, but they generally operate in the same way:
- Pull the pin to break the tamper seal
- Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire
- Squeeze the handle to spray the extinguishing agent
- Wave the nozzle at the fire in a sweeping motion from side to side, covering the area of the fire
If you have any doubts about your ability to put out a fire on your own, leave your home immediately.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms
CO alarms are another necessity for home safety. Fuel-burning appliances such as your stove, water heater or furnace can emit a gas called carbon monoxide, often called a “silent killer” because it has no odor and cannot be detected. A CO alarm is designed to detect this gas.
Every level of your house should have a CO alarm, especially near sleeping areas and bedrooms. If you have an attached garage, install an alarm near the door. CO alarms should be at least five feet above the ground and should not be near any fuel-burning appliances, but check the manufacturer’s placement recommendations for more details. For maintenance, test your CO alarms every month and replace batteries every year. Units should be replaced every five to seven years.
If a CO alarm detects high levels of the gas and sounds an alarm, leave the house right away. Contact professionals who can take the necessary actions to make your home safe again.
Being prepared for fires and CO gas leaks will help keep your family safe at home. Be sure to contact your insurance agent for more helpful advice and to make sure your home is protected from any related losses.