The Benefits of a Smoke Alarm

While we're on the topic of fire safety, does your home have a smoke alarm?

Of course, smoke alarms save lives. They give your family a chance to get out in case of fire. They can alert you before you have even noticed you have a problem. Bottom line: smoke detectors work.

If you already have a smoke detector, good for you. Does it have batteries? If so, most fire safety experts recommend that you change them when we change our clocks -- once in the fall and once in the spring. So, if you haven't changed your batteries, this is your reminder. After all, your smoke detector can't save your life unless it's working properly.

Perhaps you have a smoke detector wired into your home's electrical system. You still have to test the system periodically (some models recommend as much as once a month) in order to be sure it's working. If you haven't done this recently, do it now. Again, the spring and summer clock change can be a good reminder to do this.

Don't have a smoke detector? It's an inexpensive way to help your family stay safe. Consider going and getting one before the heating season is in full swing. The investment could save your life.

Worried about the money to buy one of these things? Here's some good news: most insurance companies will give you a discount on your home insurance if you get a smoke detector. In fact, some companies are now refusing to insure you without it. It just makes sense.

Some models will now detect both smoke and carbon monoxide, which is a silent killer. Given that many homes are heated by natural gas, a carbon monoxide detector keeps you safe from one of the potential hazards of natural gas as a fuel -- carbon monoxide.

Keep warm. Stay safe.


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