While fire safety should be a focus every day of the year, this week is Fire Prevention Week and serves as a timely opportunity to share smoke alarm safety reminders. Now is the time to test your smoke alarms and replace the batteries. Working smoke alarms actually cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. On that same note, three out of five fire deaths last year resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and replaced every ten years. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable, ten-year batteries should last for up to ten years and be replaced after that. Any other type of smoke alarm with a replaceable battery should have its batteries replaced once a year. Any time a smoke alarm beeps, this serves as a warning that the battery is low and that smoke alarm and battery immediately.
Here are some smoke alarm safety tips:
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Interconnect all smoke alarms in the house so that when one sounds, they all do.
- Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
- Make sure everyone in the home knows what the smoke alarm sounds like and knows what to do when they hear it.
- If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
- If a fire does occur at your home, call the fire department from outside the house.
An important thing to remember about your smoke alarm is that its location does matter. Most fatal fires occur at night when people are asleep. The sad truth is that often, victims never wake up. A working smoke alarm will detect smoke and sound an alarm to alert you, giving you the time needed to escape. Remember the message behind this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign: “Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!”