When I was first learning to cook, I tried experimenting every chance I could get. One time in particular I decided to reuse parchment paper on a cookie sheet and quickly became terrified when I noticed flames inside the oven. Thankfully the fire was contained, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you heard me scream! I was so scared. One thing is for sure, over the years I’ve done everything in my power to ensure I never have a fire again.
We all know that accidents can happen in the kitchen and in other rooms in the home. Now is the perfect time to upgrade your smoke alarm and purchase a fire extinguisher to protect your family and home, especially since the holidays are right around the corner.
Home improvement expert, Dave White of the Home Depot joined me for an interview recently to discuss simple ways we can prevent home fires. He also dished on how to purchase a new smoke alarm, special features you should look for, how to use a fire extinguisher, create an escape plan for your family and much more.
Dave White Shares Home Fire Safety Tips
How To Prevent Home Fires
Candie Anderson: With October being National Fire Prevention Month, how can we prevent home fires and what are the first steps we should take?
Dave White: “The first thing that I recommend is make sure that you have working smoke detectors on every single level of your home. Pay special attention to areas like kitchens and outside of bedrooms, even attics and garages.
Most people don’t realize this but after 10 years or so smoke detectors can actually lose their effectiveness (the sensors can go bad). You really need to replace the whole unit if it’s older than 10 years. The good news is the technology innovation has come a long way. Some of the new smoke and carbon monoxide alarms have some really great features.
You’ve probably heard of Kidde, they’re one of the leaders in the industry. We’ve partnered with them really closely to develop some great products like this 10 year sealed battery intelligent interconnected wire-free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. There’s a 10 year sealed battery, so the battery is sealed. You don’t replace it, it’ll last 10 years. After 10 years the alarm itself will tell you to replace the alarm. It’s wire-free, that means you don’t have to run wires. You don’t have to have an electrician. It’s a great do-it-yourself project. It’s just a few screws, anchors and you put it in the ceiling. They interconnect, they talk to each other wirelessly so one gets an alert, they tell the others. No matter where they are throughout the home, you’re going to be able to hear them.
If there’s a basement fire and you’re on the third floor, you’re still going to hear that alert on the alarms that are on your floor. It talks to you in a voice instead of beeping which is a lot more effective, especially if you’re sleeping.
Finally, if you connect it to your wifi, it will actually send alerts to your smartphone, so you can know what’s going on even when you’re away.”
Every Home Needs A Fire Extinguisher
Candie Anderson: After alarms what is the second thing that people should look at to keep their home safe?
Dave White: “Fire extinguishers. This is something that people tend to overlook because they either don’t get around to it or just don’t feel like they have the time to do it. Just make sure you have a fire extinguisher in every level of your home.
Pay attention to the labeling on the fire extinguisher because it’s going to tell you really the type of fire that it’s going to be best for. That will help you to figure out what area to put it in. For example, a kitchen is going to be a different type of fire because it might be a grease fire or an electrical fire. Read the directions, read the labeling, it’s very very simple.”
How To Use A Fire Extinguisher
Candie Anderson: If we are in a situation where a fire has started, is there a technique people should use when using extinguishers?
Dave White: “Absolutely. It’s really simple but it’s one of those things you want to know in advance and not wait until you’re faced with a fire. Just remember PASS. It’s a great acronym to remember how to use your fire extinguisher. First is P for pull. Pull the pin, you can’t use it without pulling the pin. A for Aim is the next one. You want to make sure you aim it first at the base of the fire. Then S for squeeze (squeeze the trigger), and S for sweep. That means sweep back and forth at the base of the fire.”
How To Test Your Smoke Alarms and Fire Prevention Tips
Candie Anderson: What are other ways to ensure our homes and families are protected from fire?
Dave White: “This time of year, prevention is key. Make sure everybody knows how to be safe around space heaters and an open flame like a fireplace or candles. Have that escape plan, have a meeting place, so you know where everybody can meet so you’re sure that everyone got out safely.
Test all of your smoke alarms every single month. Just push the test button, it’s really easy. Once a year, if your smoke alarms have replaceable batteries put new batteries in them, especially this time of year. Just remember around the time we change our clocks is a great time to put new batteries in.”
How To Find More Information
Candie Anderson: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Dave White: “For any other information, certainly come on into the store, we’d love to see you and talk to one of our associates. Or just go online to HomeDepot.com/FireSafety.”
Dave White Bio
Dave White joined The Home Depot in 1989. Since 1991, he has produced and served as THD’s on-camera spokesperson for internal product knowledge and project know-how training videos as well as appearing on network television shows such as “Lynette Jennings’ House Smart” (Discovery Channel), The Today Show (NBC), FOX & Friends (FOX News), and The Weather Channel.