Don't ignore smoke alarms

Friday, August 20, 2010

Four of every 10 home fire deaths result from fires with no smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Working smoke alarms cut the risk of victims dying in reported home structure fires in half. The NFPA recommends smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level. They should also be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.

Please note the following tips for smoke alarms:

*Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.

*In one-fifth of all homes with smoke alarms, none were working.

*Most homes still have smoke alarms powered by batteries only.

*More than half of home fire deaths that occurred where no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms were present happened between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

*Approximately 3,000 people a year die in home fires.

*Choose a smoke alarm that bears the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

*Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

*Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps," warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.

*Test your smoke alarms at least every month, using the test button or an approved smoke substitute and clean the units, in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions.

*Be sure that all doors and windows that lead outside open easily and that everyone in the home knows the escape plan.

*Consider home fire sprinklers when building a new home or doing a major renovation.

Please take these precautions seriously and avoid a tragic home or business fire.