Many of you know that safety is an important topic for me. While attending Mom 2.0 this past Spring, I met some representatives of Kidde. I think the first thing out of my mouth was, “I have one of your CO [carbon monoxide] alarms!” However, I wasn’t very familiar with the rest of their offerings. Kidde is the world’s largest manufacturer of fire safety products including: smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers and escape ladders. Recently, a member of the Kidde team e-mailed me to ask if I would be interested in writing about winter safety in the home. I said, “absolutely!”
I think I credit my parents with setting a good example for fire safety preparation. We had smoke detectors, an escape ladder and a plan for getting out of the house with a meeting point. When I was about seven, our neighbor’s house caught fire and the parents weren’t home. I remember my mom going over to get everyone out and call the fire department. One thing I did not grow up with is a carbon monoxide alarm. Although I knew about CO poisonings and deaths, having heard about them on the news, it didn’t really register that it could happen to anyone. That reality blindsided me when a college friend died of carbon monoxide poisoning, at age 27, in a home with a faulty heater. I will always have one in my home.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), most home fires and CO poisonings occur in winter. Someone in the United States dies in a house fire every three hours, amounting to 3,000 deaths each year. Besides heating appliances, seasonal activities such as increased cooking, using candles and decorating Christmas trees all add to the risk. I took the following quiz to see how ready I am. I encourage you to take it too. I’ll tell you how I did below.
Home Safety Quiz
One in four older homes needs to update fire safety equipment. How old are your alarms?
· Purchase an alarm with a 10-year sealed lithium battery, such as Kidde Worry-Free smoke and CO alarms, to receive hassle-free protection for a decade --no need to change a battery or hear a low battery chirp. Available nationwide at retailers like The Home Depot and Walmart, each alarm installed will save you $40 over its life in battery costs.
Seventy-five percent of homeowners don’t know where to install smoke alarms. Do you have one on every floor, and inside/outside all bedrooms?
· Choose alarms with room-specific features, such as an LED light in the hallway, or a voice notification for the bedroom.
· Place a CO alarm near sleeping areas and on each floor. Keep them 10 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.
Do your alarms incorporate the newest features and technology?
· A sealed-in 10-year lithium battery continuously powers the alarm for 10 years. It’s tamper-proof and can’t be removed.
· A digital display shows the level of CO in the air and updates the reading every 15 seconds.
· An intelligent multi-sensor responds faster to real fires and CO, plus it reduces nuisance alarms like those commonly caused by cooking.
· An end-of-life warning lets you know when to replace your alarms.
Do you need other safety products?
· Fire extinguisher – place one within reach in rooms where fires often begin: kitchen, garage, bedroom, living area
· Escape ladder – place in second and third-floor rooms as an alternative escape route
Have you developed a family escape plan?
· Practice it regularly. Know two ways out of every room and who will assist children and loved ones with mobility/health issues.
Do your children know their address and how to dial 911?
· Post your home address and emergency phone numbers on the refrigerator.
Are your appliances and chimney winter-ready?
· Have a professional inspect fuel-burning appliances to ensure they function properly and that they vent outside.
· Have a professional clean or inspect fireplaces annually. Birds and small animals can make nests and leaves can build up on top of the chimney, preventing carbon monoxide from venting properly.
· Have you created a 3-foot clutter free zone around fireplaces, space heaters or wood stoves?
Did you take the quiz? Here’s how I did: My smoke and CO alarms are under 10 years old. I did not know that they need to be completely replaced every ten years. I have my CO alarm in my kitchen, however, I live in a ranch house so I think that placement is ok for my layout. My smoke and CO alarms are about five years old, thus they don’t have the newest technology. I love the 10 year batteries (in the Worry Free alarms) mean we don’t have to hear that beep (it inevitably happens in the middle of the night) telling us the battery is dying. Here is a link to the Worry-Free alarms product line. My CO alarm doesn’t have a digital display. Hmmm, maybe I should be upgrading sooner than I thought? We have two fire extinguishers. I know these do expire and should be replaced every 12 years. You should also check the pressure gauge periodically to make sure it is pressurized. Chip and Lulu do know their address and how to call 911. It’s something we practice with them. We had our chimneys cleaned about two months ago. I’d say I did really well! For more information and a downloadable checklist, visit worryfreealarm.com. I also highly recommend the Safety Made Simple area of Kidde’s site as a great starting point in your quest for home safety knowledge. I’m passionate about safety and I hope you will also be passionate about making your home safe this winter.
This is a sponsored post for Kidde. All written content is my own.