Eliminating Phantom Risks at Home

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So, a few months back, Chelsea and I were perusing a blogging conference and ran in to some of the great people from Kidde. I was excited to speak with them and was stoked when they reached back out to us last month and asked if we could talk about Kidde carbon monoxide alarms. Despite the fact that we’ve been a Kidde family for…well…as long as I can remember, they still sent over a plug-in CO alarm. I’ll talk about that later, though.

Happy little boy with carbon monoxide alarm

For us, having a big and busy household isn’t easy. With four boys all under 7 years old life can be hectic, stressful, mind numbing, and in some cases bring tear-inducing. In homes like ours, one of the biggest phantoms is risk. This risk is based on the feeling that it’s easier to hedge our bets that something won't go wrong while we’re not ready, instead of just getting prepared in advance. With things like safety equipment that does not need constant attention, this is definitely the “easy” way out.

My family has always used Kidde smoke alarms in our homes and apartments. Kidde is pretty much the gold standard, so why not? As a kid, smoke alarms to me were just something that went “beep” in the night when the battery was low. This little discrete white spaceship stuck to the ceiling above my bed. Unless I was daydreaming about riding on it, it was basically ignored.

happy brothers hugging

Then, I grew up and did something absolutely crazy. I married Chelsea and subsequently had four kids with her. Four BOYS! Now, I know this may come as a surprise, but I actually really love my kids. I love talking to them, playing with them, teaching them, feeding them, and making sure they’re safe.

Now, I’m a first responder by day…and night. I spend my time running from one 9-1-1 call to the next, and everything in between. I see avoidable havoc everywhere. As much as I don’t want to “bring work home with me,” I can’t help it. However, I do the best I can to learn from other people's lessons and – in some cases – tragedies.

Daydreaming brothers

While Chelsea and I were living in the last house we ever rented, I woke up to an emergency which resulted in my neighbor's house burning down entirely. She lost everything but fortunately made it out – along with her two children – alive. On top of that, California is prone to something we call “wildfires.” For these reasons, along with lessons I've learned at work, I stopped hedging my bets on what I previously considered to be limited risk. When we bought our home, I had a Kidde smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm put into every room in the house. I even equipped the kitchen with a Kidde fire extinguisher.

In 2011, California passed Senate Bill 183, basically requiring all homes to be equipped with carbon monoxide alarms. The bill also forbid any brand or manufacturer from selling an alarm unless it met the strictest standards set forth by the California State Fire Marshal. If you have any firefighter friends, you know that those fire marshals are pretty dang meticulous! And they also love naps. Just saying. The good news is that Kidde makes the perfect alarms for this requirement, and they met the demand for these new standards.

Now, a little over seven years later, the time has come to address the phantom risk. The carbon monoxide alarms that were protecting families after SB 183 went into effect? They've now been exposed to years and years of dust and other airborne contaminants. This means the sensing chambers may have build up that compromise their ability to sense high levels of carbon monoxide. What to do? It’s time to replace the carbon monoxide alarms! No hedging bets. Eliminate risk.

Brothers with fire safety gear

Most people put these things out of their mind and don’t know any of the common home sources of carbon monoxide. Clothes dryers, water heaters, furnaces and boilers (which are definitely overlooked for maintenance in California), fireplaces, stoves and ovens, the family vehicle, and other miscellaneous power tools in the garage are common sources. Now, tobacco smoke is listed but that’s impossible in our house as that ain’t allowed, so we’re safe there.

smoke alarm in childrens room

One way to limit the risk in these categories is to remember that once in awhile, maintenance is required to keep things in working order. Another way to limit the risks here is to install a new Kidde carbon monoxide alarm. If you’ve had one for awhile, just remember that after a few years, it’s a good idea put in a fresh alarm. Your current one will probably start beeping after 7-ish years to let you know, anyway. Which – if you installed it right when the law came into effect – will be right about now! Kidde just sent us an alarm that plugs into any house outlet and has a small extension cord so it can be mounted higher on a wall or on a desk or nightstand if desired. It even comes with a display that shows the current amount of carbon-monoxide present at the sensor. Genius! This unit even has a 10 year limited warranty, which means I don't have to think about this until…gosh…until my two oldest little boys are driving.

So if you feel like keeping your family just a little bit safer and eliminating risks that you might normally ignore, get a Kidde. Check out ShopKidde.com and use the code “BEATTHEBEEPCA” for 20% off all CO and CO combo products. Or you can simply pick up a Kidde carbon-monoxide alarm at just about every store because, well, if you’re a store and you sell this stuff, Kidde is the best.

Want it? Enter below for your chance to win a three-pack of Kidde carbon monoxide alarms!

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