This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association, encourages the fire service to educate their communities about the different sounds smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms make and actions to take if an alarm sounds. Read and review this information and then educate your family and friends. Fire is Everyone’s Fight!
A key component of fire safety is the smoke alarm. Smoke alarms often provide the first
awareness of a fire, and successfully awaken us from sleep. Alarms need to be functioning to be effective. The alarm itself generally last 8-10 years and batteries should be changed at least every two years. Alarms have a test button that confirms if the batteries, electronics, and alert systems are working properly. Alarms should be tested at least once a month and replaced if malfunctioning.
Since 1992, smoke alarms have been interconnected and wired to the building electrical supply. Interconnected means that, if one alarm goes off, all the alarms in the home will sound, a feature that will enable all members of the household to hear the alarm.
Do you now the sounds of your Smoke Alarms?
There are two different sounds that a smoke detector emits: Beeping and chirping. A loud, continuous Beeping means you need to leave the building quickly. A Chirping that generally sounds every 30-60 secs means it’s time to change the batteries.
Smoke Alarms should be in every bedroom and hallway outside of bedrooms. Alarms should be on every level of the house, including the basement level.
Escape plans are as important as smoke alarms. Escape plans should identify at least two exits from each room. Smoke from a fire can obstruct vision. Household members should practice crawling and understand they may need to crawl under the smoke. Understand that door handles may be very hot and use caution. It is important to close doors behind you, as this can help delay fire spread. Important as well, is to have a pre-arranged meeting place. Make sure all household members are aware of the meeting place. Exit the building as quickly as possible. Do not stop to collect valuables. Go to the arranged meeting place. “Once Out, Stay Out!”
CO Alarms: Did you know?
More than 150 people in the U.S. die every year from accidental non-fire related carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide or CO is a colorless and odorless gas. CO poisoning can occur when a fuel-burning appliance or machine, such as a furnace, heater, or generator is not working or vented properly. Breathing in CO at high levels can be fatal.
Learn what you can do to protect your family from the dangers of CO.
- Install and maintain CO alarms inside your home to provide early warning of CO.
- Install CO alarms in a central location outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of your home.
- Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, and vents.
- Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.
- Choose interconnected smoke alarms, so when one sounds, they all sound.
- Put smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Put alarms on every level of the home.
- Make sure your smoke alarms work. Your family is not safe if they can’t hear the smoke alarms.
- Test smoke alarms every month and replace 9-volt smoke alarm batteries at least once every year.
- Smoke alarms do not last forever. Get new smoke alarms every 10 years.
- When you hear a smoke alarm, you may have less than 2 minutes to get everyone outside and safe.
Where to Put Home Smoke Alarms
Have smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. If you are renting the home, and you don’t have them, ask your landlord or rental agent to install them. Smoke alarms need to be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance. Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button. Replace smoke alarms when they are 10 years old. If needed, install smoke alarms and alert devices for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Strobe lights flash when the smoke alarm sounds. The lights warn people of a possible fire. If needed, use a pillow or bed shaker to wake people who are deaf, so they can escape. The shaker is activated by the sound of the alarm.