Skip navigation
All Places > Safety Source > Blog > 2016 > May > 17

A carbon monoxide (CO) alarm alerted two Madison, Wisconsin, residents to a potentially
life-threatening situation earlier this week.


According to the Wisconsin State Journal, firefighters found out the couple had used two
charcoal grills a few hours earlier and put the grills in their garage, under the apartment.

“The couple called 911 after their alarm went off twice, but then fell silent,” said
Madison Fire Department spokesperson Cynthia Schuster.


Firefighters put on breathing apparatus to enter the garage where they found high CO levels
and one charcoal grill still smoldering.CO kit cover (2).jpg

CO is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. It is often called “the invisible killer,” and
is created when fossil fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, coal, natural gas,
propane, methane, or wood, do not burn completely.


Fire officials say that firefighters opened the garage door and brought the grills
out. Once the CO reading fell to zero, the residents were allowed back into their


NFPA’s community toolkit on CO alarms, co-produced with the Consumer Product Safety
Commission, provides everything needed to motivate residents to install and
maintain CO alarms. In addition, the carbon monoxide safety page includes
safety tips and reports about the dangers of CO and preventative measures.

Smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years - that was the key message behind a news story that aired yesterday on KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh's CBS news affiliate. It also happens to be the theme for this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign, "Don't Wait - Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years", October 9-15.


While smoke alarms can make the difference between life and death in a home fire, they need to be working properly, and that means replacing them every 10 years. To find out how old a smoke alarm is, check the date on the back of the alarm. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.


Kudos to KDKA-TV for covering this important message in a compelling, accurate manner. We encourage fire departments planning to promote Fire Prevention Week in their communities to consider this news story as a great example of how local news outlets can cover this year's theme. Our Fire Prevention Week website offers a wealth of related resources and information - make sure to check them out!

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, home chefs everywhere are reaching for their grills, eager to usher in the long-awaited barbecue season (admit it, I know you're one of them!). To that end, NFPA recommends that grillers pay particular attention to safety this spring and summer when home fires involving grilling incidents occur most often. These days, we know that people grill throughout the year of course, but maybe you didn't realize that July is the peak month for grilling fires, followed by May, June and August? It's true! So we need to stay mindful and focused on our grills when we're cooking, especially when entertaining with friends and family as all that activity around us can be distracting.


According to NFPA's latest "Home Grill Fires" report, failing to properly clean the grill before use is a big contributing factor to a fire. So before you roll out the grill for the first time this season and start piling on the steaks and veg, take a good look at it. Has the grill been stored away all winter? Lift the hood, inspect the grates and hose connections. Not sure what to look for? See a problem but you're not sure what to do about it? Our short video and step-by-step process from NFPA expert, Guy Colonna, will walk you through the process.



On average, between 2009 - 2013, 8,900 home fires involved grills, hibachis or barbecues each year. So it's important to always pay attention to your cooking. With any luck, our spring and summer season will last a good long time! And that will surely mean more meals being cooked over an open flame. Take the time now to review safety tips. Go to our grilling fire safety webpage and download (for free!) our tips sheet; tack it to the fridge. Go back to it every now and again to remind yourself of what to do. And don't forget to share what you learn with friends and family. Love social media? Share our specially made posts for whatever platform you use most. You'll find them on our webpage, too!


So get grilling, everyone! Enjoy the summer months the NFPA way and stay (fire) safe this season! Happy summer!

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: