With people spending more time at home during the covid-19 pandemic, causing furnaces, fireplaces, and other fuel-burning appliances to put in extra work, working smoke and CO alarms are especially important.
The CPSC estimates an annual average of 362,000 unintentional residential fires, resulting in approximately 2,400 deaths, 10,400 injuries, and $7 billion in property losses from 2016 through 2018.
Carbon monoxide, the invisible killer, can’t be seen or smelled. CO poisoning can come from portable generators, home heating systems, and other CO-producing appliances. The majority of CO deaths occur during the colder months of the year between November and February.
More than 400 people die every year of CO poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After replacing the batteries this year, check alarms every month to make sure they’re working. You can get alarms with 10-year sealed batteries that don’t need replacing for a decade.
Another suggestion from the CPSC: create a fire escape plan, including two ways out of every room, and practice it.
In addition, check your home for other hidden hazards, using the CPSC’s covid-19 safety checklist.