Home Fire Sprinklers: What You Need To Know

We all have some form of smoke detection in our homes. Whether it is the standard ionization smoke alarms, or the more accurate dual differentiation alarms like those developed by Crossfire, smoke alarms give us a sense of security in the event of a fire. However, if a fire does occur, these alarms do nothing to actually extinguish the flames. That’s why more and more people are putting a fire sprinkler system into their home.

Automatic fire sprinklers react similar to a smoke detector, by going off once their detection system sense smoke or a rise in heat. Fire sprinkler systems can often react quickly enough to control and even completely extinguish flames before the fire department arrives. While we see these systems in office buildings, hotels and other public establishments, few of us consider them for our own homes.

In the United States, roughly 85% of all fire-related deaths occur in the home. According to an American Housing Survey, only about 4.6% of residential buildings had sprinklers in 2009, most of those in newer builds. One of the largest reasons people don’t think of putting fire sprinklers in their homes is that they don’t realize it is an option. However, more and more people are seeing the life-saving impact these systems can make.

Home fire sprinkler systems activate in the presence of smoke or heat and release water to essential drown out the flames. In most cases, this will help save your property by controlling the fire until the fire department gets there. In some cases, these can completely extinguish the flames. When a fire occurs, only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, ensuring the only damaged property is in the immediate area. According to the National Fire Protection Association, roughly 84% of home fires that occurred in the presence of a sprinkler system only activated one sprinkler.

Installing one of these systems in your home can be relatively costly, averaging at $1.35 per square foot. However, just as Crossfire Alarms emphasizes, you can’t put a price on peace of mind and the safety of your family. Having a smoke detector present cuts your risk of dying by approximately 33%, while a sprinkler system can effectively lower your risk by 80%. In homes with sprinklers installed, property damage is cut by close to 70% when compared to fires without sprinklers.

If fire safety is a concern of yours, home sprinkler systems are a simple, effective way to gain peace of mind and know you will be safer if a fire occurs. Contact your local fire department to learn their thoughts and look into your options to find the right system for you to keep your home and family safe.

Keeping Grandma Safe: Home Oxygen Tips

As a kid, we all saw people, generally the elderly, who used oxygen tanks and machines to assist them in breathing. When it comes time for a family member to use oxygen therapy, many of us don’t think of fire safety as an issue. However, oxygen is one of the key elements in fire, and therefore poses a risk anytime compressed oxygen is present. When grandma finds out she needs to depend on an oxygen machine, her first thought isn’t on safety but yours should be.

Home oxygen machines are relatively small in size, most take up less than three square feet. To set up the oxygen machine, you plug it in. Most allow you to adjust the amount of oxygen running through them, based on the doctor’s recommendations for the person using the machine. Most work by taking in air from the outside, compressing it, removing the nitrogen and other gases, then emitting pure oxygen through the breathing tubes. Some use water to assist in the process.

When setting up an oxygen machine in the home, make sure it is kept at least 5 feet from gas stoves, lighted fireplaces, woodstoves, candles, or any other sources of open flames, according to WebMD. When using oxygen, avoid using oil, grease or other flammable liquids, such as anything petroleum-based. Highly flammable materials can easily ignite in the presence of oxygen, so when in use stay away from things like this.

Oxygen tubes can dry out nasal passages, which means grandpa might need a moisturizer. When selecting moisturizers avoid things that are petroleum-based like Vaseline. Look at ingredient in moisturizers and go for ones like cocoa butter, aloe vera, or other similar, less flammable products. Water-based products are ideal to moisturize nasal passages.

Once we reach a certain age, we become a bit more stubborn, which is why grandma refuses to quit smoking. It might require you to baby-sit, put up signs, or even hide the cigarettes and lighters, but NEVER let anyone smoke while wearing oxygen or near oxygen. If grandma must smoke, which is often the case, make sure she always takes her oxygen off before going outside to light one up.

When securing your oxygen tank, make sure it is solid and secure. Since it is compressed air, it has the potential to explode or even launch like a missile. Make yourself completely familiar with the equipment so you can ensure it is safe and functional. Talk with the manufacturer and have their number somewhere you can easily find in case you have any questions. Before the oxygen is installed, test your smoke and heat detectors to ensure they work. Since oxygen machines are loud, they are often placed in rooms we don’t use as often. If this is the case, you may want to consider upgrading your fire protection to an inter-connected system like Crossfire Alarms, so you know if that room has become a hazard.

Oxygen therapy is a great way to help those with breathing issues continue life on their terms. If someone in your home needs oxygen, make sure everyone in the home knows the safety issues that come with the machine, and know how important it is to handle oxygen safely.