Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Change Your Battery Now

It hangs in your hallway, measures just six inches round, and it can save your life. No matter where you call home, a smoke detector must be part of the décor. Home is the place you feel safe, yet home is where most fire-related deaths occur.

In the seconds it took you to read this far, somewhere in the U.S., a fire truck is on its way to fight a fire. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported 484,500 structure fires in 2011, causing nearly 2,700 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries.

If you’re like most homeowners, you probably have one or two smoke alarms in your home. That’s great! But when was the last time you gave that smoke alarm any attention? Every month, check your smoke detector to be sure it is in proper working order. With spring cleaning time here, extend the clean sweep to replacing the batteries in every smoke alarm you own. And, if those smoke detectors are more than a decade old, it’s time for an upgrade.

Kitchen fires most common

Cooking equipment fires are the leading cause of home fires, so most home fires start in the kitchen. Unattended cooking is a bigger problem with electric ranges than gas ranges because there is a tendency to use the flat, smooth range top as counter space and inadvertently leave something on it when turning on a burner.

More than half of the cooking fire injuries occur when people try to fight the fire themselves. But putting a smoke alarm in the kitchen may not be a good idea, as it can lead to false alarms from the occasional boiled-over casserole. Choose a room that is adjacent to the kitchen as the location for a smoke alarm.

Another good location for a second smoke alarm is a hallway leading to the bedrooms or, as the NFPA suggests, put one in every bedroom. While kitchen fires are the leading cause of home fires, smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths. The most common products ignited by smoking materials are mattresses, bedding and upholstered furniture.

Other common causes of home fires include electrical equipment, candles and lint-clogged clothes dryers. A working smoke alarm is your best defense, yet too many smoke alarms fail because the alarm battery is dead. Check your battery now, and make it a springtime habit.

Prepare a fire escape plan

Fire can spread rapidly, and while a smoke alarm will give advance warning, you need a plan to escape quickly and safely. The National Fire Protection Association has a guide for basic fire escape planning. It begins by instructing you to identify all possible escape routes and gathering the family to involve them in the planning. Making a home fire escape plan, and conducting a fire escape drill, are key steps to being fully prepared for a real fire.
Frontline Insurance knows your family’s safety is paramount, and that is why we offer an insurance discount if you have a smoke alarm that is centrally monitored. We also encourage you to review information on fire and safety equipment to have in your home.

Please remember that the comments contained in this blog are general in nature and that coverage under any specific policy of insurance will depend upon the terms and conditions of such policy.