During the holiday season we often find ourselves stumped as to what to get our family members for a gift. This year, we have the perfect gift idea for your whole family–new smoke detectors! Exciting, no. Important, yes! The experts at Paul Davis know how crucial smoke detectors are in the early detection of fires, saving lives and saving homes. As inexpensive as they are important, updated smoke detectors in your home can help prevent disaster well into the New Year.

If you don’t think a smoke detector makes for a great gift, consider that smoke detectors save lives. According to the Canadian Government, it’s extremely important to put smoke detectors in the right places within your home. In fact, statistics reveal that 78 percent of deaths from fire occur in the home, with most of the fatalities taking place between 2 am and 4 am while occupants are asleep. While we’d never like to think of our families falling victim to fire, the truth is that we never know when a fire could happen to us. What’s more, fires don’t just start in obvious ways such as food that catches fire in the oven or a candle being knocked over. Fires can begin as a slow unnoticeable smoulder caused by overheated outlets, exposed wiring, old extension cords, and much more.

Still not convinced? Most families have only a minute or two to escape their home once a fire begins, making smoke detectors crucial in the safety process. That’s because both smoke and fumes travel much faster than flames. These elements can cause respiratory issues, lightheadedness, confusion, and even sleepiness. You’ll want to be alerted to the fire as soon as possible so that you can escape before you find yourself in danger.

Keep in mind that smoke alarms are a very low-maintenance gift. We recommend that you test smoke alarms about once a month to ensure that they are working properly. Other than that, they need only their battery replaced about every six months. Additionally, your smoke alarm can be easily cleaned with a vacuum or a damp rag. If you find that a smoke alarm is annoying because it continuously goes off while you’re cooking, don’t just take out the battery. Instead, try moving your smoke alarm to a location further away from your kitchen to prevent it from going off unnecessarily. Never simply remove the battery. A smoke alarm that is disabled is just as dangerous as not having a smoke alarm at all.

This holiday season, be sure to review your fire safety and fire escape plan with your family. Make sure everyone knows where to go should an emergency occur. Also, remember to test your fire alarms before your house becomes full of guests this holiday season.