Fire Safety

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According to the American Red Cross -- home fires generally increase during the fall and winter. And with this being the first weekend of fall -- it's a great time to talk about protecting your family in case of a fire.

Tim Skaggs with the Home Depot is here with some advice.

1. "Toss at 10 and start again" – our research shows that only 25 percent of consumers are aware of the recommendation to replace smoke alarms every ten years. After 10 years, the sensors inside the alarms wear down, and even if the alarm still chirps when you test it or replace the battery, the sensors may be compromised.
2. Household fires are all too common, with a fire department responding to one every 24 seconds on average, according to The National Fire Protection Association.
3. October is National Fire Prevention Month, now is the time to protect the home against fire safety hazards.

STEP ONE: Change/Upgrade Alarms

• As I mentioned earlier, our research shows that only 25 percent of consumers are aware of the recommendation to replace smoke alarms every ten years. After 10 years the sensors inside the alarms wear down, and even if the alarm still chirps when you test it or replace the battery, the sensors may be compromised.

• According to The National Fire Protection Association, two thirds of residential fire fatalities result from fires in homes without working smoke alarms.

• If you are one of those households that needs to upgrade, consider an alarm that detects both fire and carbon monoxide. The CDC found that each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not linked to fires.

We've worked with long-time partner Kidde to create the best interconnected, combination alarm on the market – the only alarm that's Red Cross-certified.
• The new Kidde Worry-Free Wireless Combination Alarm
o talks to all the other Kidde Combo alarms throughout the house wirelessly. So if there is a fire in the basement, you'll be notified in the bedroom right away.
o It's easy to install and there's no need to hard wire.
o It also allows you to install one alarm for two risks, with voice alerts that tell you exactly if the danger is fire or carbon monoxide.
o And your home is protected even when you aren't there with capability for push notifications to your phone.

• If you are not due for an upgrade, take 10 minutes to ensure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are functioning. If your alarm runs on standard alkaline batteries you should replace long-lasting option like Duracell Quantum batteries, which are guaranteed to last for at least five years in storage.

STEP TWO: Get Educated On Extinguishers

• Portable fire extinguishers put out a fire 94 percent of the time they are used, according to the Fire Equipment Manufacturer's Association. This typically takes place within the first two minutes of the fire, so it's important to have at least one fire extinguisher handy on every level of your home. Here are a few that you can have in specific areas in the home.
o Living Area: Keep a standard ABC-rated fire extinguisher on hand for most household fires, including fabrics, plastics, wood, paper, flammable liquids and electrical equipment fires.
o Kitchen: Kitchen fires are unique because of the oil and grease used in cooking, so choose an extinguisher designed for cooking-related fires like the Kidde Kitchen 2BC Fire Extinguisher.
o Garage: Flammable chemicals are likely stored in the garage, so choose an extinguisher with a higher capacity to combat combustible materials, like the Kidde Garage & Workshop Fire Extinguisher.

• When using a fire extinguisher, use the P.A.S.S. technique as described by the National Fire Protection Association:
o PULL the pin.
o AIM low and point the nozzle at the base of the fire.
o SQUEEZE the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
o SWEEP from side to side at the base of the fire until it's out.

STEP THREE: Check Your Outlets

• The final piece of equipment to check in a home are your electrical outlets.
• A technology called arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is designed to detect potentially hazardous arc-faults that can start fires. Arc-faults can occur anywhere in the home's electrical system, usually from damaged cords or wires.
• Products like the Leviton SmartlockPro Outlet AFCI Receptacle detect the faults and interrupt the power. AFCI outlets are now required by the National Electrical Code in many areas of the home, so contact your electrician if you are unsure about your wiring, especially if it is an older house