If you are in the midst of designing your first custom home, then you are likely excitedly choosing all of those great features you have always wanted in a home, like high ceilings, specialty flooring and cabinetry, and all of those other little special touches that will make the house perfect for your family. However, in the midst of all of the fun (and stress!) of designing your dream home, it is important to not forget to keep safety in mind while planning, and that includes fire safety. Here are two important tips to keep in mind when designing your dream home to ensure that your new home is your family's safe haven not just from the outside world but also from fires.
1. Choose Your Smoke Detectors Wisely
For decades, there was little difference between one smoke detector and the next. Some had longer battery lives or adjustable smoke sensitivity settings, but all worked in a very similar fashion and made a similar sound when their sensors detected smoke in the air. While alerting homeowners to any smoke in the air is a solid safety feature in theory, unfortunately, in the real world, many people have become too used to the beeping sound standard smoke detectors make. This is not because people have been in the midst of many home fires, but instead because they are used to detectors going off when they are cooking. This leads many people to assume a smoke detector is "just acting up again," and not take the alarms as seriously as they should. Even worse, people sometimes disable the smoke detector when it misfires and forget to reconnect it.
Don't think that you would ever ignore the sound of your smoke detector or disarm it? Even if you don't intentionally ignore your detectors, you may subconsciously wait longer than you should to check the room a smoke detector is sounding off in, and when it comes to fires, every second counts. Also, if you live with a partner or a large family, you never know if one person may disarm a detector and forget to reconnect it, and this could cause your dream home to go up in flames.
What can you purchase instead? There are several new types of smoke detectors on the market that have varying features that prevent your going "ear blind" to the sound of the alarm. One monitors both smoke and deadly carbon monoxide in a room and provides a warning signal in the form of a prerecorded verbal message that your brain is likely to process differently than those beeps of standard smoke alarms that you have heard for decades whenever someone slightly burnt a dish in the kitchen. Another has the ability to determine the difference between kitchen smoke and smoke produced by a fire, which means that when you hear the alarm, you know it is not just another false alarm and that it is truly time for action. Some also send messages to your smartphone through wireless technology and points you to the exact room the fire is in. If you are designing a large home, then this feature alone could save the lives of family members, especially babies and the elderly, if a fire were to break out in the room they are in and they were unable to communicate that they were in trouble until it was already too late.
2. Make a Small Investment in Fire-Alarm Monitoring
While smart smoke detectors can alert you of a fire in your home, the local fire department needs to be alerted as quickly as possible to save your family and your home. While you may have a solid plan of action made that you shared with your family about who is responsible for calling 911 when a fire begins in your home, even the best plans can get derailed in the midst of panic and the feeling of immediately needing to get your family out of your home before the fire spreads. You likely also don't keep your cell phone in your pocket at all times, and if the fire breaks out when your phone is in another room, you may not even be able to get to it if there are flames in the way or you are busy helping family members out of your home.
When you have fire-alarm monitoring in place, you don't have to worry about who will make that phone call to alert the fire department and all of the sudden things that can go wrong with your plan in the midst of a real fire emergency. With a fire-alarm monitoring system in place, you can feel safe and secure that as your family is evacuating as quickly as possible, the fire department has already been alerted that there it is a fire in your home and is sending firefighters to come battle it. In addition, you can feel secure that if a fire breaks out in your home when no one is present, it will be put out as quickly as possible by the local fire department before it destroys your entire home.
How does a fire-alarm monitoring system work? Many companies that provide this service furnish you the smoke detectors you need for every room in your home, so don't purchase any smoke detectors before you speak to an alarm-monitoring company and finding out if they provide them. When one of the detectors senses that there is a fire in a room, a signal is sent to a company dispatcher, who immediately contacts your local fire department. The dispatcher will provide all of the details the fire department needs quickly, including your home address.
Designing your first custom home is fun and exciting, but don't forget to keep safety in mind during the home-planning process. Fires are one of the deadliest and most common disasters in the United States, so be sure to follow these two tips to protect your new home and your family from fires.