Smoke alarms: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four out of every 10 home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms. Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, including the basement, and particularly near rooms in which people sleep. If you use battery-powered smoke alarms, make sure you replace the batteries regularly. Test all smoke alarms monthly to ensure they are working properly.
Fire extinguishers: Make sure your home has a fire extinguisher. For the home, a multi-purpose extinguisher that can be used on all types of home fires is the best choice, according to National Fire Protection Association. The group recommends an extinguisher that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not too heavy that you can’t lift it.
Carbon monoxide detectors: Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause sudden illness or death when inhaled. Common sources include improperly adjusted gas appliances, furnaces, wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. To detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in your home and reduce the risk of poisoning, purchase a carbon monoxide detector. Batteries in carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced twice a year.
Radon test kits: Radon is a naturally occurring colorless, odorless gas that, when inhaled at high levels, can lead to lung cancer. Radon can seep into your home through cracks in the foundation and is usually found within lower levels of homes and in basements. Low-cost, do-it-yourself radon test kits are available in hardware stores. You can perform either short tests — two-90 days — or long tests — more than 90 days. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can tell you the right method of testing and acceptable levels of radon for your home.
By properly using these simple, low-cost devices in your home, you can help prevent a disaster. For more tips about living injury-free, visit APHA’s National Public Health Week website.