Safety tips to help prevent home fire
Talbot Insurance Agency Inc. State Farm Insurance Regina Talbot, agent, 626-357-3401. Insurance license #0G05807.
What are the different types of fire alarms?
- Battery-powered alarms may use a nine-volt battery or 10-year lithium battery.
- Hard-wired smoke alarms operate on the home's electrical system and include a battery backup in case of power failure.
- Combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors may be a good choice for certain locations such as the garage and near heat sources such as furnaces, water heaters, dryers, and fireplaces.
- Make sure your alarm is listed or approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Follow manufacturers' recommendations on when to replace smoke alarms.
How do you install smoke alarms?
- To install a battery-powered alarm, all you need is a drill and screwdriver. Always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.
- Hard-wired alarms should be installed by a qualified electrician. All hard-wired smoke alarms should be interconnected: If one alarm is activated, all alarms will sound.
- Install a smoke alarm in each bedroom.
- Never install a smoke alarm too close to windows, doors, vents, or ceiling fans where drafts could blow smoke away from an alarm.
When should I test the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors?
- If you have standalone battery-powered alarms, test them once a month, and replace the batteries once a year.
- Never paint any part of a smoke alarm.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions when cleaning your alarms. Dust and debris can usually be removed by using a vacuum cleaner attachment.
Have a fire extinguisher handy
To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS: Pull the pin and release the locking mechanism. Aim the nozzle low and at the base of the fire. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly. Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
- Select a multi-purpose class ABC extinguisher that is large enough to put out a small fire but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
- Keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
- Remember that each extinguisher must be serviced annually and may need to be recharged.
Consider a home fire sprinkler system
- Residential fire sprinkler systems provide added protection above smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
- Fire sprinklers immediately respond to a fire while it is still small — controlling the spread of deadly heat, flames, and toxic smoke whether or not the occupants have appropriately responded to the signaling smoke alarm.
- During home construction or remodeling, a home fire sprinkler system can be cost effective.
Review your home for potential fire hazards
Just by being aware of common fire hazards and keeping an eye out for problems, you could save your home and possessions from serious damage.
- Examine the electrical cords: Look for any fraying of the cord. If you see any, replace the cord or appliance immediately. And always remember to grasp the plug, not the cord to prevent future fraying.
- Review your extension cords: Avoid using “octopus plugs,” which allow many extension cords to be plugged into a single receptacle and don’t plug many extension cords together.
- Examine the light switches: Replace buzzing or sparking switches. Also, have an electrician review your wiring as these may be signs your home needs to be rewired.
- Review your light bulbs: Do not use light bulbs with a higher wattage rating than recommended on the fixture.
- Examine the clothes dryer: Cleaning the lint trap should be part of your regular laundry routine. Left untouched, lint can build up in your dryer duct with every load of laundry. Have a professional inspection and clean your dryer at least once a year to help eliminate a fire hazard.
- Loose batteries: Nine-volt batteries, which power smoke detectors, are designed with both posts on the top. Bits of metal, including other batteries and loose change, can create a bridge between the posts that causes a heat-creating charge. To prevent this, keep unused batteries in their original packaging, and cover the posts of expired batteries with the black electrical tape before properly disposing of the batteries.
And finally, practice fire safety
- Talk to your children about fire safety.
- Plan at least two ways to get out of any room.
- Agree on a meeting place outside where everyone can gather.
- Practice your fire safety plan yearly.
For more information, contact State Farm Agent Regina Talbot at 626-357-3401.
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