If you’re still reeling from last week’s episode of NBC’s, “This Is Us”, you are not alone. Although we may have forgotten how we looked whilst ugly crying ad nauseam, we should not forget the much bigger lesson learned. No, it’s definitely not trash your beloved Crock-Pot. Rather, the importance of having a working smoke detector (or several) in our homes.
SMOKE DETECTORS SAVE LIVES. PERIOD, THE END.
Jack and Rebecca might be fictional characters, but the horror of residential fires is very, very real. About 3,000 people are killed each year in HOME fires. You can cut the risk in half if you have working smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Be sure to have the right type of alarm. According to the FDNY website, Alarms must be approved by Underwriters Laboratories (look for a UL mark) and have an audible end-of-life warning. All new and replacement smoke alarms should have a sealed 10-year battery that is non-replaceable and non-removable.
No doubt, some are better than others. First, you need to understand there are TWO types of fires: Smoky, smoldering fires and fast fires with flames.
Smoky fires are best detected by alarms with photoelectric sensors.
Fast fires with flames work best with alarms with ionization sensors.
Yeah, I know. Who knew? It is important to note that The International Association of Firefighters recommend the use of photoelectric smoke alarms.
Consumer Reports says you’re safest with a dual-sensor alarm that quickly detects both types of fire, such as the top-rated Kidde PI2010 and the First Alert 3120B. They both cost around $30.
An updated model of The Nest Protect – a combo smoke and carbon monoxide alarm was tested by Consumer Reports in 2015 and was found to be still slower to respond than other smoke alarms to flash-flame fires. Interesting.
The consensus is to buy BOTH a dual-sensor smoke alarm and a separate carbon monoxide alarm. This model by First Alert is also reco’d by Consumer Reports.
Think about that for a minute. Thirty dollars can save you and your family from disaster. Seems like a no brainer, right? Think again. Roughly two thirds of American homes DO NOT have a carbon monoxide detector. A CO detector is an absolute must must if you have any of the following:
Any fuel-burning appliances like a furnace, water heater, range, cooktop, grill. But make no mistake, even a home that is “all electric” benefit from a couple of CO alarms because you probably have a generator.
Some important things to remember:
It’a NOT your Crock-Pot
Full disclosure, I was a spokesperson for Crock-Pot in 2014. I am no longer a spokesperson, but still a huge fan and was very upset they got a bad rap because of a fictional show. And bravo to them for handling it so well, like in this video with Milo Ventimiglia. Bottom line, it wasn’t the Crock-Pot that killed Jack. Let’s keep our eye on the ball, Super Fans.
“But It Goes Off When I’m Cooking And It’s So Annoying..”
Ah, yes. I am guilty of this, too. This is especially true for anyone who lives in an apartment. A good friend of mine is a NYC firefighter and gave me a great piece of advice once. He explained that he lived in a small NY apartment and every time he cooked he had to disconnect the smoke detector. So he wouldn’t forget to reconnect it after dinner, he always placed it on top of his pillow. This way he knew he would never go to sleep without it. I thought this was a very good tip. Thanks, Richie Gleason!
Have A Plan
It’s also a good idea to have a family plan. In our house, I have told my two children since they could speak in the event of a fire where they were unable to get out of their room they should jump out the window and run. I showed them how to cover their head and crouch down and everything. You can buy ladders that attach to window sills, but when every second counts I still think it’s better to jump if your planned exit is compromised. We live in a two story home where the jump is far less likely to injure them as greatly as a fire might. Not exactly a warm and fuzzy topic, but the thought of myself or someone I love dying in a fire is enough to induce a full on panic attack for me, at least.
Ask A Fireman’s Advice
I have found that most fire stations are filled with really nice firefighters who are always willing to speak to you. Walk in your local station and just ask questions you have. Bring your kids, listen and learn. If you have an hour to watch TV, you have an hour to do that.
Top Seven Fire Safety Tips
I got these directly from the NYFD Website, a great source of information and a plethora of downloadable tip sheets. Here’s what they say:
- Don’t smoke in bed, lying down, when drunk, drowsy, etc and extinguish butts completely (I can’t believe we still have to remind people of this, but we do)
- Don’t use extension cords with large appliances
- Don’t leave food cooking unattended
- smoke alarms on every floor and in bedrooms for extra safety
- Plan, practice an escape plan. Close the door, GET OUT. You have three minutes.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children
- Don’t leave the house or go to bed with candles burning
This weekend, why not take a few minutes and check all your smoke/CO alarms and see if they are in working order, need to be replaced or if you need additional units? There is nothing more valuable than keeping you and your family safe.
Remember, Crock-Pots don’t kill people. Homes without smoke alarms kill people. Stay safe and take care.
I think we should make it a national goal that every single home in America is outfitted with the necessary smoke alarms, don’t you?
Lots of Love + Cheers to the weekend!