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Smoke Alarms

Smoke Detectors Save Lives - That Life May Be Yours!

It's a proven fact. Smoke alarms installed and maintained properly can double your chances of surviving a fire.

Every year in the United States, approximately 5,000 people are killed by fire. In most cases, victims suffocate from smoke before succumbing to the fire itself. Additionally, approximately 300,000 people are severely burned and millions of dollars of property is destroyed as a result of fire. Early warning systems, such as smoke alarms, could save half of these lives and greatly reduce property damage. Approximately 80 percent of all U.S. fire deaths occur in the home. Fatal residential fires most often occur at night when residents are sleeping. In most cases, the best way to survive a residential fire is early fire detection and rapid escape to a safe area.

How to properly install your smoke alarm?

Alarms that are hard-wired into the home electrical system should be installed by a qualified electrician. If the alarm plugs into a wall socket, make sure the outlet is not connected to a wall switch that will allow someone to accidently turn off the electricity. Ensure the plug has a restraining device to keep it from being accidently disconnected.

Many detectors are battery powered and can be installed by the homeowner. Read the directions that come with the alarm for proper placement or call the fire department for advice.

How many smoke alarms do you need?

For minimum protection, a smoke alarm is required near each seperate sleeping area of a home as well as in the basement. Placement should be in the middle of the ceiling or on a wall, six to twelve inches below the ceiling. Smoke, heated air, and many toxic gases will rise and begin to mushroom down. For individuals who are difficult to awaken, it may be necessary to install an additional smoke alarm inside the bedroom. Additionally, it is recommended that there be at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home.

How do you maintain a smoke alarm?

Smoke Alarm Maintenance Routine maintenance includes three basic steps: vacuuming, testing and changing the battery.

  • Clean the smoke alarm monthly by gently vacuuming to remove dust and cobwebs allowing proper air flow through all vents.
  • Test the smoke alarm every month following the procedures recom mended by the manufacturer.
  • Replace the battery annually. An easy way to remember this is to change the battery every fall at the same time that you change your clocks back from daylight savings time. In several older types of alarms it may be necessary to replace bulbs. This should be done according to the manufacturers' instructions.
  • Smoke alarms don't last forever. Any smoke alarm ten-years-old should be replaced.

How to plan your escape?

Once a fire starts it spreads rapidly. You may have only seconds to get out. Normal exits may be blocked by smoke, heat and/or fire. It is important that everyone knows what to do.

Plan two exits from every room. All family members should know all escape routes. Choose a meeting place outside the residence so you will know everyone has escaped. Practice escaping to test your plan before a real emergency.

If there is a need for immediate escape, don't waste time trying to fight the fire, and don't stop to call the fire department from inside the house. Get out and call 911 from a neighbor's phone or from another safe location. Staying in the house to call may cost you your life!

If you have any questions about smoke alarms, please contact us.