We all (hopefully) have more than one smoke detector in our home, but when was the last time we tested them? I remember growing up in a home where my mother tested our smoke detectors monthly, either by pressing the “test” button or by burning dinner. In addition, we practiced an evacuation plan in the event our home ever caught fire. I actually enjoyed this fire drill because crawling out of my first-floor bedroom window was exhilarating!

With May only a few days away, I’d like to remind readers that May is National Electrical Safety Month. While browsing the Electrical Safety Foundation International’s (EFSI) website, I read some eye-opening statistics about electrical fires.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an estimated 51,000 fires annually are caused by electrical failure or malfunction.  According to NFPA, these fires claim almost 500 lives, injure more than 1,400 people, and result in $1.3 billion in property damage every year. One way to protect yourself and your family from becoming another statistic is by implementing life safety products into your home, such as smoke detectors. These simple devices save lives.

Why is it that electrical safety seemed more important when I was kid? I always think about testing my smoke detectors, but that thought always finds its way to the bottom of my priority list. Instead of a monthly test, it’s usually every six months thanks to Daylight Savings reminding me.

What keeps us from actively engaging in electrical safety? Is it that we don’t think it will ever happen to us? Electrical fires will not announce their arrival – they often occur without warning – and don’t care if you’re prepared for them or not.

ESFI recommends installing smoke detectors in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home. Test them monthly. If your detector starts chirping, it’s an indication that the batteries are dying. Be sure to replace them (the chirping will annoy you enough to do it anyway!).

To access ESFI’s National Electrical Safety Month 2011 Tool Kit, visit their website. Share what you learn with friends and family. Education and awareness are the keys to staying safe!


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