Many families take numerous actions to prepare their homes for the harsh conditions of storms and their aftermath. Go one step further, and help protect your home and family from fire and carbon monoxide (CO) this storm and hurricane season.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas that can be produced by any fuel burning device including furnaces, stoves and water heaters. It is important to consider this during your storm and hurricane season prep because portable electric generators in poorly ventilated areas and damaged appliances can cause CO incidents. Help keep your loved ones safe by practicing the following storm preparedness safety tips.
Storm and Hurricane Preparedness Tips
Install CO Alarms
Carbon monoxide alarms detect and alert you and your family to elevated CO levels in your home. It is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association that you install carbon monoxide alarms on every level, outside of each sleeping area, and inside every bedroom of your home. Consider installing CO alarms with a battery back-up for continued protection during power outages or upgrade to our 10-year sealed battery alarms to eliminate the need for battery replacements.
Have Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers can help contain a small fire from growing and causing more damage. Keep a fire extinguisher on every level of your home, as well as in the garage and kitchen. Consider a multi-rated fire extinguisher that can be used on a variety of types of fires like wood, paper, fabric, flammable liquid and electrical fires. Make sure you know how to use your home fire extinguisher and when to escape if the fire becomes too big to contain.
Use Flashlights, Not Candles
In the event that you lose power due to a hurricane or other type of storm, never use an open flame from a light source. Using an open flame like candles for a light source can be a potential fire hazard. This is especially dangerous when people use them at night and leave them unattended while sleeping. Avoid the temptation to reach for a candle by having flashlights or battery-powered lights handy. Make sure there are enough flashlights for everyone in the household and that they are easily accessible.
Never Run Generators Inside
Generators are a common alternative power source when a home’s power is out. Generators are especially important to have on hand during hurricane season. When using a generator, run them outside in a well-ventilated area to avoid building up carbon monoxide in your home. Don’t run them in the garage, even if you intend to keep the garage door open. Also be sure to keep it at least 15 feet away from any door, window, or vent opening for extra safety precautions.
Watch Your Portable Heaters
Portable heaters can be very important for keeping warm when there is a power outage or no heat to your home during colder temperatures. However, they can often be a fire hazard and are responsible for over 50,000 fires annually (NFPA). This is typically due to the large amount of electricity they use that often overloads circuits. Fuel fired heaters also carry the risk of releasing carbon monoxide gas. Never leave a space heater unattended, especially when sleeping and check for any frayed wiring.
Create an Escape Plan
Finally, be sure to have established a home emergency escape route with your family. There should be at least two clear exits per room that you can get to in case of an emergency. Also, identify a meeting place not far from your home, such as the mailbox or neighbor’s house, where everyone can meet and be accounted for.
Aside from having enough safety supplies, food and water on hand for the whole family during hurricane season, make sure to follow these extra safety precautions to help ensure your home is protected from fire and carbon monoxide.