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Fire Prevention and Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips You Need to Know This Winter

From the time a fire alarm sounds in your home, you have about two minutes to get out safely, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Every home needs a combination smoke and carbon dioxide alarm.

“That’s going to be the first thing that’s going to notify you that there’s a problem, whether it’s a fire or a carbon monoxide leak in your home,” said Captain Michael Kozo of the New York City Fire Department’s Fire Safety Education Unit.

Prices for combo alarms start around $25 and other models can run over $100, but the tech can save lives.

“Carbon monoxide is undetectable. You can’t see it, you can’t smell it, you can’t taste it,” Kozo said. “So the only way you’re going to know about it is by your carbon monoxide monitor going off.”

Have a plan

If the carbon monoxide alarm goes off, open the windows to get some fresh air inside, then go outside. If there’s a fire, Kozo recommends closing all the doors behind you as you leave to isolate the fire and help slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.

In both cases, residents need to get out quickly and call 911 using a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone.

The NFPA, which sets the standard for how long it takes for fire personnel to respond, says it should take four minutes for the first engine to arrive on scene.

Make an escape plan for every room. Have a predetermined meeting place outside the home.

Check alarms

Know where all the smoke alarms are located in your home. You should have one on every level, and around all bedrooms. Make sure the detectors have working batteries.

“Test your alarms once a month at the very least,” Kozos said. If not, the consequences could be deadly. Approximately 3 out of 5 fire deaths occur in homes where there were no smoke alarms or the alarms weren’t working.

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