The dangers of fire and carbon monoxide gas within the home are obvious and well-known.
However, whilst I was well aware of the dangers and had a basic smoke alarm fitted in my home prior to having children, when your first baby arrives the stakes are much higher. This is not an area in which you will want to take unnecessary risks by buying cheap and ineffective products.
Firstly, the safe levels of toxic smoke and carbon monoxide inhalation are much lower for children thus making it even more important to install reliable detectors throughout the home to provide early warning.
Secondly, the physical challenge of safely removing a large family from a house in a fire or gas emergency are that much more difficult. On that note, it is advisable to have an evacuation plan in the event of such an emergency situation. Such a plan ought to include identifying the easiest exit routes from your home in the event that you cannot get downstairs and consider the following matters:
- do you have a flat roof extension beneath one of your windows?
- If you have window locks, ensure that the keys are kept close-by.
- Always sleep with a telephone in your bedroom in case you need to call the fire department.
- If you are unable to get out of the home, be prepared to gather your family into one room, lie on the floor and try to block any gaps to prevent smoke coming in.
When I began researching this subject, I had absolutely no idea that you can actually buy concertina-style fire escape ladders like the Kidde KL-2S. I think they are a fantastic idea and I am definitely going to buy one. They cost about £35 / $33 and the key features are:
- 13-foot emergency escape ladder for a 2-storey building
- Easy-to-use–attaches quickly to most windows
- Tested to 450 kg
- Durable and flame-resistant
- Tangle-free design
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For those of you with taller houses, there is a 3-storey version priced at about £53 / $55.
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Other Fire Safety Products
There are 2 other important types of fire safety products available for the home:
- Smoke Detectors
- Fire Extinguishing Devices
(1) Smoke Detectors
These are fitted to the ceilings in your home and emit and audible alarm in the event that significant quantities of smoke are detected. Fortunately, mine have only ever gone off as a result of food being burnt on the stove, but it is reassuring to know that they work and, if they are sensitive enough to notice when the steaks are cooked on too high a temperature, I would expect them to provide me with early warning of a more serious problem.
You can buy smoke detectors on their own or as part of a combined smoke detector / Carbon Monoxide detection system. If you don’t already have either, then it makes economic sense to consider a combined device, the Kidde KN-COSM-B looks like one of the best. They cost about £38 / $27 for each unit – you can usually get a discount for bulk purchases.
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Kidde are considered to be brand leaders in the fire safety marketplace and I have their devices fitted throughout my own home. I have never had any concerns about their reliability and I highly recommend them.
Good smoke detectors include:
(2) Fire Extinguishing Devices
For those of you that require greater peace of mind, there are a number of different fire extinguishing devices on the market. If you do buy them, you will also need to ensure that they are kept out of arms reach of the children unless you want them to re-enact a scene from Star Wars!
These are particularly important for those homes that do not have easy emergency exit points from the bedroom areas – e.g. if you live in an apartment block or on the top floor of a 3-storey house.
Good products include:
- 2kg powder Fire Extinguisher and Blanket from A2Z (UK)
- Kidde KSPS1X Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher (UK)
- Kidde FA110 Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher (USA)
- Fire Gone 2NBFG2704 Fire Extinguisher (2 pack) (USA)
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If you already have smoke detectors and just need carbon monoxide detectors, some good options include:
- Kidde Premium Carbon Monoxide Detector (UK)
- Kidde 7DCOC 10 Years Carbon Monoxide Alarm (UK)
- Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Detector (USA)
- First Alert CO615 (USA)
Click here to read more about Carbon Monoxide Safety issues and, in particular, where to position them within your home.
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