Does your smoke alarm work? Have you followed these easy listed points? Do they save lives? In my 35 plus years in public safety the answer is YES! Please don’t take these essential safety devices that get overlook way too often.
• Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.
• A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
• Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
• It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
• Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
• Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
• A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
• People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
• Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
• Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.
Did you know that one of the major cause in fire fatalities are non-working smoke detectors, most homes had them but they were not maintained. The batteries were found to be missing, or DEAD! Just the way the occupants of the home were found!!!
Please check them this month! If they are 10 years old replace them. Run the vacuum over them removing dust and bugs. Test them (push test button down) and check the battery. Remember if they are 110v with battery back-up you need to unplug them to check the battery. 110v systems need a battery, if a fire begins and shorts out the power to your house they will only work if you have a working battery in them.
What to do when they chirp! Normally, this means the battery is low and needs to be replace, replace the battery. If it continues to chirp, run the vacuum over the smoke detector case, then open the case and run the vacuum over the components. Sometime, bugs and dust cross the sensors! Whys does it chirp when it’s plugged in to 110v, battery is low, replace the battery or it could be a bad smoke detector you may want to replace the entire smoke detector! If the 110v continues to chirp contact an electrician to check the power source.
Finally, teach your family what to do when the smoke detector alarms. Practice! Practice! Practice!

Chief Matthews