With the winter months right around the corner, now is the time to be sure that fire alarms are properly installed and functioning.
After all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that most fires in residential structures occur during the winter months. Much of this is due to the heating devices - not all of which are safe - that people tend to be using during that time of year.
Keeping a smoke alarm properly functioning can do more than avert unwanted home insurance claims for tens of thousands of dollars in damage from smoke, water and flames. In fact, the CDC adds that about 40 percent of home fire deaths take place in homes that lack smoke alarms.
The federal agency said that in 2008, there were 403,000 house fires reported in the United States, resulting in at least 2,755 deaths of non-fire personnel and more than 13,000 injuries. Not counting property damage, these injuries cost more than $7.5 billion each year across the country.
Many home insurance companies will provide discounts for other fire-safety features, such as sprinkler systems and "smart" fire alarms that link all units and provide better protection for people who may be sleeping or in a part of the house away from the flames.