If you have ever read a sad news story about a family losing everything including their loved ones in a fire, you know that feeling of sadness followed immediately by the thought “what about my house…is my house safe?”  Here are some news year goals to make your home safer right now.

  1. Check your smoke detectors and changed the batteries. Smoke detectors should be less than 10 years old and have a battery less than 6 months old. If you home is up to modern standards you will have one in every bedroom, on each floor, and in your garage. These smoke detectors should be tied together so that all sound simultaneously during a fire.  Press the “Test” button to sound the alarms and check each alarm for sounding.  If you have removed or a disabled a smoke detector in your home because of nuisance sounding, make it a new year’s resolution to add a replacement detector in a more practical location.  Historically, 4 out of 5 home fire related deaths occur in homes without smoke detectors.
  2. Install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home. Carbon monoxide detectors are increasingly affordable and easy to install. They protect you from dangerous fumes and they also can alert you to some types of fires faster than a traditional smoke detector.
  3. Remove your old space heaters. Space heaters are extremely dangerous are our notorious for starting fires that are often fatal.  If you must use a space heater consider using an oil type heater or a heater with a self-shutoff sensor. Keep space heaters away from combustible materials and never leave a space heater on while you are asleep or away.
  4. Remove extension cords from around from home. Extension cords become small heating coils when overloaded, worn-down, or damaged. Consider moving the item closer to an electrical plug or installing an electrical plug exactly where you need it.
  5. Have your electrical system checked by a certified electrician. Electrical panels, switches, and outlets wear out overtime and lead to thousands of house fires every fire throughout the county.

Home fires are tragic but preventable. Start the year off on the right foot and take a few minutes to make sure your home is safe.