On average, 8 people die in a home fire each day in the U.S.—almost 3,000 people every year. While working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire nearly in half, roughly two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, according to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Newer smoke alarm recommendations and technologies now provide greater levels of home fire protection than ever before. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of these advances and lack the recommended level of residential smoke alarm protection as a result. Their homes may not be equipped with the appropriate number of alarms, or they may be relying on outdated or nonfunctional devices.
ESFI offers the following tips for making sure smoke alarms are installed and working properly:
More information about smoke alarms is available in Smoke Alarm Maintenance Calendar, Smoke Alarm Safety Tips for Older Adults, and the Fire Safety Planning Checklist, or by viewing the Smoke Alarm Safety Virtual Demonstration (also available in Spanish).
Every year, over 200 people in the United States die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Several thousand more are treated in hospital emergency rooms for treatment for CO poisoning.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is created when common fuels such as natural gas, oil, wood or coal burn incompletely. This odorless, colorless, tasteless gas is often called the “silent killer” because it is virtually undetectable without the use of detection technology like a CO alarm.
More information about carbon monoxide can be found on the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Fact Sheet.
ESFI's Carbon Monoxide Alarm Safety Tips sheet provides tips for the proper installation, maintenance and response to carbon monoxide alarms.
Many carbon monoxide poisonings are associated with the use of portable generators, be sure to visit ESFI's Portable Generator page for important safety tips before you purchase or use one.
Working smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a home fire, but there is more you need to do to ensure your family is prepared to safely escape from a fire emergency. Once the smoke alarm sounds, you may have only a few minutes to get out. Prepare a fire escape plan for your family before an emergency happens.
The following tips will help you develop a safe and effective family fire escape plan: