Try These Hassle-Free Fire Safety Upgrades

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In 2013, more than 98,000 apartment fires were reported nationwide, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), so it’s important not to overlook your safety measures.

Oct. 1 signaled the start of Fire Prevention Month, which is a great reminder to make sure all apartment homes are equipped with the latest fire safety products and information. Take this time to upgrade detectors, alarms and extinguishers while educating residents about best practices, procedures and escape routes.

Smoke Alarms
Ensure that all apartments are equipped with smoke alarms in all the right places. The best locations to install detectors throughout each home are bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. For larger units, make sure the hallways also have detectors. To make this process easier and save time for your maintenance staff, replace all old smoke detectors with options that feature 10-year lithium-ion batteries and carbon monoxide detection.

If converting every building’s smoke alarms to 10-year battery detectors isn’t possible, look into buying batteries that are longer lasting. Not all batteries are the same, so invest a little more upfront for a product that will last longer and help protect against preventable disasters. For example, Duracell’s Quantum technology is exceptionally long lasting and has a feature that guarantees batteries for 10 years in storage.

Smart Alerting Technology
As old detectors come out, incorporate new technology into each unit, making it easier for residents to monitor their safety.

Monitors today feature voice alarms that vocally alert residents of any potential threats. In the heat of the moment, they explain exactly what type of emergency is happening, making it easier for residents to understand what the threat is and how to react.

The newly redesigned Nest Protect detector will send alerts to residents’ phones to notify them if there is a fire, carbon monoxide threat or just a low battery. It also can determine what is wrong so residents can know where to go or what to do in the case of an emergency. Residents can use this technology to silence a false alarm from their smartphone. These products can connect to multiple alarms and feature batteries that last 10 years.

Behind the Wall
Consider evaluating and improving fire safety precautions behind the walls, such as upgrading insulation, drywall protection and electric outlets.

Insulation can help to stop the spread of fire throughout a building, so consider fire-resistant options next time a renovation is being performed. Roxul Safe n’ Sound insulation can withstand high temperatures, dampen noise between rooms and resists water and mold. Additionally, insulation foams like Great Stuff Fireblock seal pipe cables and ducts to minimize airflow and prevent fire while also stopping harmful gasses from spreading as quickly.

Outlets with advanced electrical safety like the SmartlockPro AFCI/GFCI receptacle offer protection from both electrical surges and fire damage. Strides have also been made for gypsum board that is easy to install and fire resistant, so the walls themselves can be improved.

Whether building a new community or updating an older one, make sure all codes are met and all the precautions have been taken to create a safe environment.

— Julia Buerger, Electrical Merchant, The Home Depot