Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!

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The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign — Oct. 3 through 9 – “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!” sends a reminder of the importance of having working smoke alarms in our homes.

Many homes in Payson and the surrounding communities may not have any smoke alarms, not enough smoke alarms, alarms that are too old, or alarms that are not working. We want residents to understand that working smoke alarms are needed in every home, on every level, outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom. And, if a smoke alarm is 10 years old or older, it needs to be replaced.

Smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics show that working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire nearly in half. But they must be working properly to do so. The association’s data shows that many homes have smoke alarms that aren’t working or maintained properly, usually because of missing, disconnected or dead batteries. Roughly two-thirds of all home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Interconnected smoke alarms offer the best protection; when one sounds, they all do. This is particularly important in larger or multi-story homes, where the sound from distant smoke alarms may be reduced to the point that it may not be loud enough to provide proper warning, especially for sleeping individuals.

Most people have a sense of complacency about smoke alarms because they already have one in their home. Ultimately, we want this year’s campaign to serve as a call to action for households to inspect their homes to ensure that their families have the full smoke alarm protection that’s recommended.

The Payson Fire Department offers the following tips for making sure smoke alarms are maintained and working properly:

Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button, and make sure everyone in your home knows their sound.

If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away. If you have multiple alarms, replace them all at this point and annually after that.

Make a home escape plan and practice it with your family, have a safe meeting place outside and far enough away from the home to provide a level of safety.

Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they’re 10 years old (or sooner) if they do not respond properly when tested.

Never remove the battery, the unit or disable a smoke alarm.

When painting your home do not paint the alarm, if you cover the unit with plastic to keep it clean while painting or sanding, remove the plastic at the end of the workday.

If your home does not have a working smoke alarm or you need an extra unit, call the Payson Fire Department, (928) 474-5242 ext.300, to have one installed for free.

Until next time be ‘Fired Up’ about Smoke Alarm Safety in your home.

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