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Here’s an eye-opening statistic: There were more than 500,000 structural fires in 2015, a rate of about one per minute. Keeping your property and loved ones safe from fire and smoke is always a priority at MONI, but October is an especially good time to focus on the topic. It’s National Fire Prevention Month, which is highlighted by National Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 9-15.
This year the National Fire Protection Association is highlighting the importance of smoke alarms, with the theme “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” The choice of theme isn’t surprising; the NFPA has made home smoke alarms the centerpiece of Fire Prevention Week for the past three years. Fire protection is always important, but next week is a good time to remember that smoke alarms are the first line of defense against fire-related tragedies.
Even though smoke detectors don’t have any moving parts, they still have a limited life-span. They’re based on sensors that can eventually lose their sensitivity. The test button tells you that the alarm itself is working, but it doesn’t indicate whether the smoke sensor is still functioning properly. By replacing your smoke alarms every 10 years – or even sooner if you can’t remember how old they are – you know that you’ve got equipment that will be ready when you need it.
Think of it this way: Nobody ever regretted changing a smoke alarm too soon.
Smoke alarms alert you to danger, letting you get family and pets to safety. It’s important not just to install new smoke alarms every 10 years, but also to replace the battery at least once a year. Test your alarms at least once a month; you don’t want to find out about a faulty alarm when it fails during an emergency.
That’s a twist on the traditional saying, because fire isn’t the only thing that threatens lives. A home can quickly fill with smoke, even from a small fire. It can incapacitate anyone in the home, making it difficult to get out safely. It isn’t just the potential for smoke inhalation; a fire needs oxygen to burn, and it will quickly consume breathable air.
The source of the fire is another complicating factor. For example, plastic is everywhere you look inside the home, and if it burns it can create toxic gases. Even small quantities of these gases can be deadly or cause severe damage to lungs or eyes.
Cold weather is on its way, and there’s nothing better than burning some logs (or lighting a gas fireplace) on a chilly fall or winter evening. But remember that fireplaces and chimneys are involved in 42 percent of all home heating fires. They’re also one of the leading sources of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s a deadly gas that is odorless and colorless, and can quickly overcome anyone who breathes it.
That’s why an effective fire protection strategy should include carbon monoxide detectors, particularly near potential sources like fireplaces, space heaters, gas furnaces and gas water heaters. An authorized MONI dealer will stress a strategy that includes carbon monoxide alarms.
You’re not always going to be home when fire starts. Your family might thankfully be out of harm’s way, but your property is still at risk. Early detection and fast response can make the difference between minor damage and catastrophic loss. MONI is dedicated to providing fast response when you need it with 24-hour monitoring for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Even if you’re not home, we can still summon the help you need.
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