Every six months, you hear from firefighters – when you change your clock for Daylight Saving Time, change your smoke alarm batteries. This is more than a slogan. Firefighters see firsthand that smoke alarms save lives. A working smoke alarm gives you and your loved ones more time to escape safely in the event of a fire.
Statistics back this up. Nearly two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarm. With a few simple fire safety precautions and preparation twice a year, that number can be greatly reduced.
Changing your smoke alarm battery is important, but there is more you can do to protect your family in the event of a fire in your home.
1. Make sure you have the most up-to-date smoke alarm. Firefighters recommend replacing any smoke alarm every 10 years.
2. Make sure you have the correct type of smoke alarm. Photoelectric smoke alarms are more effective at warning of smoke from smoldering fires, while ionization smoke alarms are quicker to alert you to free-burning fires. With that in mind, and realizing that the sooner the alarm sounds, firefighters recommend installing a combination photoelectric and ionization smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside of every bedroom and on each floor of your home.
3. Practice your evacuation plan - Firefighters understand that in an emergency, knowing what to do can mean the difference between life and death. In addition to properly installed and working smoke alarms, practice evacuating your home. Make sure that your family has at least two ways of escape from your home, including bedrooms. This may include drawing up a map to show both exit paths. Test your smoke alarms for its loud warning so that all family members know the sound, then practice exiting the home as if it were an actual emergency. Having a predetermined meeting place once you leave the home will help firefighters quickly know if everyone is out of the house and, if not, where they need to search first. Most important of all, remind your family that once they are out of the house they should stay out until firefighters give the all clear to re-enter.
So, remember, when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time, North Metro Fire encourages you to take a few moments to check your smoke alarm – and go the extra step for fire safety to keep your family safe.
Contributing source: International Association of Fire Fighters