The last big fire in Mequon was a nighttime warehouse fire last October. And while home fires are thankfully rare, a large part of why they don’t happen is because of smart, proactive steps taken by homeowners. Continue reading to learn more about the lessons you can take from that warehouse fire and how to protect your home in general.
Smoke Alarms: A First Warning
In the warehouse fire, flames were already shooting through the roof when the fire department arrived. Given that the fire was at night, there was probably no one around to quickly notice it. Nighttime house fires often start and grow the same way — while everyone is sleeping, a stove that wasn’t quite turned off, a smoldering cigarette, or a forgotten candle can quickly turn into disaster.
To get the fastest warning possible, you need smoke detectors above every bedroom door, over your stairwells, and in other large rooms with no adjoining bedroom. Routine maintenance to make sure your alarms are still working is also key.
- Test them every month.
- Replace the batteries every year.
- Replace the entire alarm every ten years.
When you choose a smoke alarm, battery-only units are good for hard to reach places. However, if you have the ability, having hard-wired and interconnected alarms that talk to each other and alert you no matter where you are can add to your safety.
As with other products, don’t forget to check for recalls periodically. For example, there is currently a recall on Kidde dual-sensor smoke alarms because the manufacturing process blocked their sensors.
Be Ready to Use a Fire Extinguisher
Make no mistake, you should never try to be a hero. Always get your family outside and call 911 first in case you aren’t able to control the flames. However, proper use of a fire extinguisher can contain or extinguish a small fire in time to prevent major damage.
To use a fire extinguisher, pull, aim, squeeze, and sweep (PASS). Your goal is to sweep across the base of the fire where it’s hottest and where the fuel is while also making sure you always have a safe escape path in case you aren’t able to put it out.
You also need the right kind of fire extinguisher. Kitchen grease fires need a different kind of extinguisher than a paper fire. Using the wrong type of extinguisher could even make a fire worse. And again, don’t forget to check for recalls, like the Kidde recall, so you don’t find out your fire extinguisher is defective when you need it most.
Also Be Prepared Against Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can quickly turn deadly. Symptoms are hard to notice and if you do, it may already be too late, so it’s critical to have a CO alarm for early warning. The most common household causes are small gas leaks and running engines in a garage sending fumes into the home.
The best way to be prepared is to ensure that your smoke alarms also have carbon monoxide detectors. Both types of alarms require similar maintenance and should be in similar locations, so a two-in-one solution is the most convenient way to protect your family.
To learn more about how to protect your family and possible discounts on Wisconsin insurance policies, contact Leonard Insurance today.