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» Smoke Detectors: Fire Safety

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Spooky word to those of us who don’t like to think about things happening to our homes or families. Still its a word that we should all be familiar with, and know exactly how we plant to deal with it if the situation arises.

Being a firefighter, I get passionate about some things that not too many other people do.
One of those things is installing smoke detectors in your home. Particularly if you have children, this is something that regardless of income or geography, you simply cannot afford to be without.

Each year in the United States over 3000 people are killed in fires and another several thousand are injured.
Having a working smoke alarm will increase your chances of living through a fire by fifty percent.
Knowing what to do in case of a fire will further increase your families chances of staying alive.

Isn’t that worth your time and energy? To install a few smoke alarms and to take the time to install them and test them every few months? To teach your family what to do in the event of a fire?

A fire extinguisher should always be present in your home, two if you can swing it. One in the hallway, near the childrens room, perhaps in a bathroom cabinet, and another situated in the kitchen, within easy reach of the stove.

THey should be ABC type extinguishers, rated for all fires, and everyone in your home should be familiar with how they operate and able to use them if the need arises. To that end, make sure that once you’ve purchased one, that you go over its operation with your children.

Fire and Smoke detectors should be ideally situated in more than one area of the home, with the very least amount being one outside of each childs room, one situated outside your own and another near your kitchen.

The diagrams below, from a Fire Safety standpoint, are where you ideally want your fire or smoke detector to be situated.

Never put a smoke detector in a corner as the smoke won’t reach it in some cases before the fire reaches you.
Be sure when attaching your smoke detector to the wall, that you place it 4-12 inches from the ceiling and likewise, mount ceiling placed smoke detectors 4 inches from the wall.

Smoke rises, so if you have a odd-shaped ceiling, choose the highest point on the ceiling to place the detector.

Smoke is nothing more than gases that are the byproduct of the fire. In most cases smoke is poison and you need to stay below it.
If your detector goes off, thats not the time to hope that everyone knows what to do.

Talking with your children about fire safety is important. Not frightening discussions, but teaching discussions that are designed to get them to learn in ways they understand. One site that can be very helpful in finding a way to teach without frightening them is McGruff.org, which helps them to understand the material and gives them fire safety games and puzzles to do, that are designed to help them retain the learning material more easily.
I so recommend that you visit the site and spend some time with your kids to teach them how to be safe.

Teach your kids to sleep with the door closed and to lay a hand on it before they open it if they hear the smoke alarm go off. If it is warm, do not open it leave it shut and find another way out, such as a window. If you have no window, take anything you may find and block the smoke from coming into the room. Stuffed toys, clothing or anything else will be an effective tool to stuff under your door and prevent the smoke from entering.

When you change your clocks, change your alarm batteries.

Test your alarm monthly.

NEVER pull the battery from an alarm that goes off frequently. Relocate it, but don’t leave youself defenseless by disabling it.

Vacuum your detector every few months.


Particularly this time of year, firedrills in your home, table discussions about where the meeting place will be and suggestions for ways to get out of your home are the best method of making sure that everyone does.


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