(BPT) - As Americans brace for more snow, ice and below-freezing temperatures this winter, education about and protection from residential fire and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning become increasingly important. This is especially true considering that U.S. residential fire and CO deaths and injuries account for far more fatalities in most years than all natural disasters combined.
Since 2003, roughly 3,000 Americans have died each year in house fires, the equivalent of one person every three hours, every day. Additionally, nearly 20,000 people are sent to emergency rooms annually due to CO poisoning - an average of 55 people every day.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), most home fires and CO poisonings occur in the winter. As your family cranks up the heat or uses the fireplace to stay warm, remember to clear snow and debris from flues and outside exhaust vents, place generators outside if there is a power outage and keep flammable materials at least 3 feet away from any heat source.
To help keep your home worry-free from fire and CO this winter, the experts at Kidde Fire Safety recommend these five simple steps:
1. Replace smoke alarms more than 10 years old with units featuring a 10-year sealed-in battery. Kidde's Worry-Free line provides a decade of continuous protection with no low-battery chirps.
2. Place fire extinguishers on every level of your home, and make sure they are within reach.
3. Install CO alarms on each floor and near bedrooms.
4. Develop and practice an escape plan with your family. Know two ways out of each room.
5. Pledge to keep your family safe and reduce the risk that firefighters face when responding to a home fire at www.alarmpledge.com.
Extreme weather conditions should serve as a timely reminder to take stock in home emergency preparations. Take these steps to help protect your loved ones today. For more safety tips and information, visit www.Kidde.com.