Each year when the clocks spring forward, the Kansas State Fire Marshall springs into action with the “Get Alarmed, Kansas,” program. The program provides free smoke alarms to those who don’t have fully-functional, modern units, and it also encourages residents to review their fire safety plan. Continue reading to learn more about how to get a free smoke alarm and keep your family safe.
The City of Topeka Fire Department distributes free smoke alarms to those who don’t have any, and it also performs free safety checks to make sure your existing smoke alarms are working and placed properly. Simply fill out the application, and the firefighters will come to you.
If you want to know what the firefighters will be doing or are more of a DIY person, here’s what you need to know.
- Place your smoke alarms to maximize the warning you get. Have at least one by every bedroom door to protect you while you’re sleeping. Also place one by rooms where fires are more likely to start that aren’t next to a bedroom (such as a kitchen, garage, or living room with a fireplace).
- Test your alarms every month.
- Replace the batteries every year for most models. The firefighters are installing newer models with ten-year batteries, so ask them when the right time to replace the batteries is.
- Use an interconnected model if you want every alarm in your home to sound if there’s a fire (in case you can’t hear the alarm on top of the fire).
- Use a wired model if you want both electric and battery power to reduce the risk of a smoke alarm failure.
- Check for recalls on your smoke alarms. Kidde smoke alarms are currently under recall.
When you choose a smoke alarm, you should also make sure it can detect carbon monoxide as well. CO is a silent killer that is odorless, colorless, and virtually impossible to detect without a special alarm.
Gas leaks are the most common causes of carbon monoxide buildups. Potential sources include gas stoves, furnaces, lawn equipment, and cars. Buildups in your garage or basement can quickly enter into your living spaces.
In addition to the usual spots for smoke alarms, your CO alarms should be in any rooms with a high probability of gas leaks as well as the rooms above those rooms in a multi-story home.
You’ll also want to keep fire extinguishers on hand. While you should always evacuate your family and call 911 first just in case, fire extinguishers give you a chance to limit the damage from a fire.
Be sure you know the difference between a fire extinguisher that can put out oil-based kitchen fires and one that can put out general household fires such as a candle knocked over onto your rug. Have at least one of each type on hand.
Don’t forget to periodically check for any recalls as well. One recent example is the Kidde recall.
If you have to use a fire extinguisher, remember PASS.
- Pull the pin.
- Aim at the base of the fire — you want to hit the fuel, not the shooting flames.
- Squeeze the handle to start the spray.
- Sweep from side to side until the fire is out.
To learn more about how to make your home safe for your family plus possible insurance discounts for safety upgrades, contact Integrity Insurance Agency today.