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Winter’s on its way: How safe is your home?

Posted Nov 08 2013 1:04pm

This post is sponsored by Kidde. All opinions are my own.

Last year when our family had a stomach virus forEVER , someone asked me, “Are you sure you don’t have carbon monoxide poisoning?” Well, I WAS sure, but it did prompt me to look at our carbon monoxide detector, which I discovered was outdated and not really functioning properly. So, I quickly ordered a new one. But my concerned friend was right to ask, because winter is the time when most fires and carbon monoxide incidents occur. Before we turn on heaters and fireplaces, we need to make sure that our carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are up to date!

To help spread the word about home safety this winter, Kidde, the makers of Worry-Free smoke and CO alarms, asked me to take a home safety survey and share my results and a few safety tips with you. Sad to say, I didn’t get 100% on the quiz! Here are some areas my family needs to improve in.

Fire Alarm Age: Our alarms are 12 years old, so they need to be replaced even though they are hard-wired to our electric. All smoke alarms need to be replaced after 10 years because of the sensor quality, regardless of whether they are hard-wired or battery powered.  Most smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, although you often need to replace the batteries twice each year. Until Kidde introduced its Worry-Free models, most CO alarms had a lifespan of 5-7 years. If you replace your CO alarms with a Worry-Free model, you are set for 10 years.

Kidde makes Worry-Free alarms with 10-year lithium batteries. They only chirp at you once… in 10 years when the whole alarm needs to be replaced.


Other safety products: We have a fire extinguisher downstairs, but we should have one on our second floor as well. We should also have an escape ladder on our second floor. I can’t believe we don’t have one! As a child, I used to look at the one in my home (in my brother’s closet) all the time! I’m going to make purchasing one for our home a priority.

Escape plan. Every family should have an fire escape plan and should practice it. We do not, and we’ve got to get one together. There are a million ways to get out of every room on our main floor, but the upstairs is much more complicated.

Here are some areas where my family is doing great with home safety.

CO Alarm age: Our CO alarms are both new within the past year. If yours are out of date, get some new ones! CO is nothing to mess around with! Check out this infographic to learn a bit more.

CO infographic - high-res

Installation of alarms: We have fire alarms and CO alarms on every floor of our house, so we are doing great there! Our Kidde CO alarms have the latest technologies: long-life, un-removable batteries, digital displays that show the air readings every 15 seconds,

Kids in the know: Both of my big kids know their address and how to call 911, and I have a list of emergency phone numbers posted for them on our fridge, and they know where to find them.

Appliances are winter-ready. Our appliances/fireplace have been recently inspected and vent to the outside, and the area around them is free of clutter.

As you can see, I’ve got a few things to do this month to ensure my house is safe this winter! How is your family doing with home safety? To get some simple home safety tips, check out this really helpful section on Kidde’s website.

And while you’re thinking about safety, take a couple minutes to read through this list of questions – the same survey I took – to make sure you’re good to go this winter in terms of fire and CO safety.

  • One in four older homes needs to update fire safety equipment. How old are your alarms?
  • Seventy-five percent of homeowners don’t know where to install smoke alarms. Do you have one on every floor, and inside/outside all bedrooms?
  • Do your alarms incorporate the newest features and technology?
  • Do you need other safety products? (e.g. fire extinguisher, escape ladder)
  • Have you developed a family escape plan?
  • Do your children know their address and how to dial 911?
  • Are your appliances and chimney winter-ready?

Hope you have a safe and warm winter!

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