With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to detect a potential emergency at home. Understanding the best ways to protect your home and family from fire or carbon monoxide should be a priority. For maximum safety, follow these specific recommendations about the placement of home smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, and fire extinguishers.
Home Smoke Detectors
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends placement of at least one home smoke detector on every level of your home (including your basement and attic), in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and at the top of stairways. Make sure they’re installed high on walls or ceilings, and at least 10 feet away from cooking appliances. This is because smoke rises and will make the alarms the most effective. It’s also suggested that home smoke detectors be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.
Carbon Monoxide Alarm
The NFPA recommends installing a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm on each level of your home, in or outside of every sleeping area, and in any other main living areas. It’s important that detectors are hearing distance from sleeping areas in case levels get too high at night. Make sure they’re also installed near attached garages in case a car is left running, and anywhere else the manufacturer recommends.
However, not every spot is ideal. The following spots can create false alarms or prevent your carbon monoxide alarm from properly identifying dangerous CO levels in your home:
- -Too close to any fuel-burning appliance
- -Humid areas like your bathroom
- -Direct sunlight
- -Places where there’s too much air circulation, like fans or vents
Most importantly, don’t forget to test home smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month!
While it’s recommended that there’s a fire extinguisher in every room of the house, there are a few key places that are priorities when deciding placement.
- Kitchen: With a majority of house fires starting in the kitchen, this is the most important room to have a fire extinguisher
- Garage/Workshop: Garages are home to many combustible and flammable items along with spark generating tools.
- Laundry Room: Because lint is also highly flammable, the dryer is another a common cause of house fires.
- Sources of Heat: This includes patio grills, fireplaces, chimneys, furnaces, wood stoves, and electrical panels.
A home fire extinguisher can save lives by putting out small fires or containing them until help arrives, but it’s important to remember that they have their limitations. Your priority should be exiting your home safely.