Smoke Alarms Save Lives

image63985According to a 2005 study by the US Fire Administration, out of the 3,300 fires causing 3,800 fatalities, smoke alarms were not present in 42% of the homes, or were not working in 21% of the homes.

Homeowners need to install smoke alarms on every level of their home. The most important location is near the bedrooms to provide an early warning to all sleeping occupants. Smoke alarms mounted on ceilings should be no less than 4 inches from the nearest wall; while wall mounted alarms should be 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling to ensure that the smoke will reach the alarm. Smoke alarms should not be placed near windows or doors that could interfere with their operation. Avoid placing the smoke alarm in the kitchen or near the bathroom, wear cooking fumes and steam can cause the alarm to sound.

A lifesaving test: Check your smoke alarms regularly!!

• Smoke alarms should be tested on a monthly basis by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Smoke alarm batteries need to be replaced every 6 months. An easy way to remember is when you “Change your clocks, change your batteries”.

• Never ‘borrow’ a battery from your smoke alarm, as they can’t warn you of fire if their batteries are missing or disconnected.

• Vacuum your smoke alarm regularly to avoid false alarms.

• Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years or according to manufacturer’s directions. If you cannot remember how old your alarm is, then you probably need a new one.

Smoke alarms sense fire early, giving residents time to escape the fire safely.

Broward County residents may be eligible to receive a free battery-operated smoke alarm. If you’re a Broward County homeowner and would like to see if you’re eligible for the free battery-operated smoke alarm giveaway and installation program, or if you would like to have one of our Life Safety Educators come to your organization and present these and other safety tips, contact the Fire Marshal’s Bureau at (954) 831-8210.

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