This year, give someone a life-saving Christmas gift: a smoke detector, a fire extinguisher or a carbon monoxide detector. They are inexpensive and can be purchased at most department and hardware stores.
Smoke detectors save lives by alarming occupants of a fire. When a fire breaks out in a house with a smoke detector, the smoke quickly activates the smoke detector and it responds with an ear-piercing alarm. This alarm provides anyone in the house with precious minutes needed to escape the fire, smoke and poisonous gases.
Most home fires start at night, so smoke detectors are especially important during this time. Smoke and poisonous gases can overcome and kill a sleeping person or family before they are even aware of a fire.
“If a fire occurs in a home, it will quickly fill with thick, black smoke and we would like for the occupants to be out of the house within one minute of the alarm sounding,” says Fire Chief Eric Taylor.
“Hollywood movies portray a false and very deadly misconception about house fires. Even small fires produce large volumes of toxic smoke. . . and smoke is deadly,” adds Taylor.
Authorities recommend that homes have at least one smoke detector on every level and one per bedroom. Smoke detectors should be approved by Underwriters Laboratories or another recognized testing laboratory. If only one smoke detector is present, it should be mounted on a ceiling or wall in the hallway toward the bedroom area of the dwelling.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and toxic gas, and is often referred to as the ‘silent killer”. When inhaled it inhibits the blood’s capacity to transport oxygen throughout the body. It can poison the body quickly in high concentrations, or slowly over long periods of time.
Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on each level of a residence and in other rooms where combustion devices are located, such as furnaces, hot water heaters, stoves, dryers and garages. In general, the human body is most vulnerable to the effects of CO during sleeping hours, so a detector should be located in or as near as possible to the sleeping area of the home.
One “multi-purpose” fire extinguisher should be enough for most homes and circumstances. Some fire extinguishers are meant for one time use only, while others can be refilled after use.
“There may be an occasion where the occupant can quickly knock down a small cooking fire with an extinguisher, however, we recommend that everyone exit the home and call the fire department,” adds Chief Taylor.
This article was written by Chief Taylor