Most deaths and injuries from house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning happen in the winter due to faulty heating systems, improvised heat sources, and holiday candles.
While October is National Fire Safety Month, we wanted to cover the topic of fire and carbon monoxide detectors once again light of the three recent house fires in Minnesota.
As a home inspector, I’m very passionate about fire safety. During each inspection, I evaluate the location and apparent age of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home. When I do the walk-through portion of the inspection, I’ll point out all areas where a smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, and fire extinguisher should be located.
I’ll even recommend a fire ladder if your bedrooms are above the main floor.
When you move into your new home, you should always replace the batteries in all detectors immediately, just to be sure you’re starting out with batteries that will last until their next scheduled replacement. Batteries should be replaced in every detector twice a year – at the start and end of daylight savings time.
Before your first night in your new home, go over your exit routes in case of a fire. This is especially important to practice if you have young children or physically vulnerable individuals in your home. Just having a plan and knowing what to do in a moment of crisis can save lives.
It’s also important to know that newer construction homes and newer furniture go up in flames much faster than older homes and furniture. You have about two minutes to exit your home safely.
This is why we recommend interconnected smoke detectors. When one goes off, all go off. That way if a fire starts in another part of your home, the detectors will sound in each bedroom. This is especially important for homes with bedrooms on multiple floors.
Finally: if you have an oven that regularly sets off the smoke detectors in your home, remember that oven cleaner and elbow grease are a lot better solution than taking the batteries out of your home smoke detectors.
For more on how to be fire-smart in your home, visit the National Fire Protection Association.
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