Every year in the United States, about 3,000 people lose their lives in residential fires. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide alarms are up to date and working. Many fire victims die from inhalation of smoke and toxic gases, not as a result of burns.
Some alarming statistics: cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries, while smoking materials still remain the leading cause of home fire deaths. More than 70 percent of reported home structure fires and 84 percent of fatal home fires occur in one or two family homes. More than half of these deaths and injuries occur in fires that happen at night while the victims are asleep. Roughly three-quarters of all fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms or where smoke alarms were not present at all. These facts are a scary reality especially when a working smoke alarm can provide an early warning to the presence of fire, thus allowing more time for loved ones to get out safely in the event of a fire.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is also known as “the silent killer”. This is because it is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas. It is the cause of up to 500 accidental deaths each year and many more sub-lethal poisonings. CO deaths are preventable as long as residents learn how to recognize the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Preventive efforts such as checking furnace flues, chimneys, and vents for blockages and for proper installation could help to avoid CO accidents. Also make sure they are clear of snow and ice during the winter months. Using good common sense and not trying to heat the home using open flames, ovens and other appliances not intended for heating could reduce the number of carbon monoxide related incidents. It is also recommended that homeowners have their complete heating systems checked before every heating season.