October. A time of year when thoughts turn to pumpkins, leaf piles, football, warm apple cider … and National Fire Prevention Month.
For remodelers, fire prevention goes far beyond code requirements. It’s smart business to bundle fire safety peace of mind in the property. After all, fire safety is never far from the minds of many homeowners. Today fire departments respond to fire calls every 24 seconds, with fire damage topping $6.8 billion in 2014 alone.
What should you consider for smoke alarms and other active fire detection and suppression solutions? What can you do to make your projects shine for fire safety?
Julia Buerger, The Home Depot’s electrical department merchant, has some market-tested ideas to share. The smoke alarm is a good place to start.
“The smoke alarms we love to recommend are the 10-year lithium-ion battery products from Kidde,” says Buerger. “Kidde makes alarms specifically designed for the kitchen, hallways, and bedrooms, including one with a carbon monoxide detector. The handy 10-year battery minimizes maintenance and is an extra measure of owner or tenant safety.”
To extend the fire safety net to a homeowner’s smartphone, Buerger likes the latest connected technology from Nest Labs. “The Nest Protect smoke alarm costs a little more, but offers more in return,” Buerger observes. “Tenants and homeowners can remotely respond to alarms and even check on battery performance.”
Rapid fire suppression should also be anticipated. Today’s fire extinguishers can take care of about 80 percent of home and apartment fires according to one study. What products should you consider? Buerger offers these tips:
“We recommend remodelers consider the fire extinguisher line-up from Kidde. Kitchen fires often involve oil and grease. That calls for the Kidde UL 711A Kitchen Fire Extinguisher. The danger in the garage are chemical fires. Consider the Kidde 5 B:C Fire Extinguisher. The living area calls for a general purpose fire extinguisher, like the Kidde 1-A:10-B:C Fire Extinguisher.”
The Home Depot has made Fire Prevention Month a major event across their 2,274-store network. Each store takes the lead in coordinating local awareness and educational activities with the community fire department. For industry pros, it’s a time for extra savings on the items mentioned here as well as others, such as two- and three-story escape ladders.
“We tell contractors that take calls from customers about installing smoke alarms to think about something I call ‘finish the project.’ Why not ask about fire extinguishers, an escape ladder, or what the customer’s escape plan is,” Buerger asks.
“Personally, Fire Prevention Month is really close to my heart,” Buerger says. “Every pro sale could be saving a life. There aren’t many times when you can say that. That makes us all feel good.”