Cooler weather signals the importance of smoke alarms, plans to stay safe

Published 12:49 pm Friday, October 14, 2022

We are often naive in thinking a fire would never happen to our home or business, when in fact, they happen more often than we believe.
Cooler weather is on the way. The National Weather Service forecast indicates that we have the first freezing weather of the fall season next week when nighttime temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday are expected to dip near 30 degrees with daytime highs in the upper 40s and low 50s.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2019, a fire department responded to a fire on average every 24 seconds in the United States. A home fire was reported every 95 seconds. A home fire death happened every three hours and 10 minutes. A home fire injury occurred every 43 minutes. There were 361,500 residential structural fires in 2019.
Today marks the last day of 2022 National Fire Prevention Week for which the slogan is “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.”
With cooler weather on the way, it means the thermostat will be changed from air to heat, some fireplaces will be lit, and heaters will be plugged in and turned on. It’s very important that you have a working smoking alarm in your home. Make sure you change the batteries in your smoke alarm and that it is working. It will keep you safe during a fire.
— A continuous set of three loud beeps from your smoke alarm means smoke or fire. Get out, call 911 and stay out.
— A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be changed.
— All smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years.
— Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.
Smoke alarms sense smoke well before you can, alerting you to danger. Smoke alarms need to be in every bedroom, outside of the sleeping areas (like a hallway), and on each level (including the basement) of your home. Do not put smoke alarms in your kitchen or bathrooms.
For the best protection, use combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that are interconnected throughout the home. These can be installed by a qualified electrician, so that when one sounds, they all sound. This ensures you can hear the alarm no matter where in your home the alarm originates.
Today’s homes burn faster than ever. You may have as little as two minutes (or even less time) to safely escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Your ability to get out of a home during a fire depends on early warning from smoke alarms and advance planning.
It is important for everyone to plan and practice a home fire escape. Everyone needs to be prepared in advance, so that they know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds. Given that every home is different, every home fire escape plan will also be different.
Have a plan for everyone in the home. Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Make sure that someone will help them!
In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Fire safety education isn’t just for school children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time every October during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire.

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