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Home Safety Tips You Need To Know

If there was a fire or other emergency, is your family prepared? Learn the essentials in home safety so you can keep yourself and your kids safe.

Chief Jeff Hevey with the West I-10 fire department says cooking is the primary cause of home fires.

"They get distracted, next thing you know you've got a fire on the stove and it spreads to the cabinets," he says.

Smoking and seasonal fires  like those involving fire places and space heaters, are the next most common causes. When a fire starts, you only have minutes to react to save yourself and maybe your home. The right preparation and knowledge we'll help you make the best choices when it comes to home safety.

"To walk around your home check detectors, clean them and make sure fire extinguishers work  takes 10 minutes even less if it's a one story home, those 10 minutes spent may mean the difference in getting out of the house in time or being trapped in the house," he said.

Money-Saving Home Safety Tips:

What You Need To Know About Smoke Detectors
  • Many fire departments offer free home surveys to make sure you have enough smoke detectors.
  • At the very least you need one smoke detector per floor. If you only have one, make sure it's close to a bedroom so you can hear it if it goes off when you're sleeping.
  • If you have electronics in the bedrooms, you need a smoke detector in case one malfunctions.
  • Smoke detectors need to be 4 inches below the ceiling or 4 inches away from an adjoining wall.
  • To tell the age of your smoke detector, look at the back. Generally, smoke detectors are good for 10 years.
  • Test the smoke detectors once a month.
  • Change smoke detector batteries every six months.
  • Vacuum the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once a month to remove dust buildup.
  • There are two kinds of smoke detectors: photoelectric and ionization. Photoelectric uses a light beam to detect the smoke, which is good for kitchens. Ionization detectors are typically less expensive and are good for anywhere else in the house, bedrooms, living room and child's play areas.
  • Many fire departments offer free or reduced prices on smoke detectors
  • A talking detector is great for children, as they're often louder than most other smoke detectors. Children, especially between the ages of 5 and 10 are very deep sleepers, and might not wake to a quieter alarm or might be confused about what's going on.

What You Need To Know About Fire Extinguishers

  • There are two kinds of fire extinguishers: BC for flammable liquids or greases, and ABC, which is good for common combustibles such as mattresses, bedding, grease and electrical.
  • Fire extinguisher usually last 5-7 years and have a date on the bottom.
  • Children in 2nd or 3rd grade should learn how to operate a fire extinguisher.
  • To operate a fire extinguisher, remember PASS: pull, aim, squeeze and sweep.
  • Point the fire extinguisher to the base of the fire.
  • Some fire department or fire extinguisher companies offer free classes to learn to use one.

What You Need To Know About Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

  • You need one carbon monoxide detector per floor if you have fuel like natural gas, fire place, gas heat or fuel oil heat.
  • A combination smoke/carbon monoxide detector can save you money.

Other Safety Tips You Need To Know:

  • If you live in a multiple story home and cannot get down the stair the window is your second option. You can purchase a collapsible ladder you can hook on window and toss it over for $35-$65. It can only be used once. Most important, make sure your windows work! Often- times people paint them shut or they are dirty and hard to open. This is one to plan with your family. When pushing out the screen - push in the corners, that's the weakest area.
  • You need an exit strategy. Identify a meeting point in case you get separated. Make sure it is away from your home. Also, identify a point of contact in case you cannot reach each other.
Special thanks to the West I-10 Fire Department.
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