Does everyone in your home know what the smoke alarm sounds like? Did you remove the batteries when they started chirping instead of replacing them? If it did sound, would you know what to do?
The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is teaming up with our wonderful local fire departments and the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association from Sunday until Oct. 15 to let our community know: “It’s Fire Prevention Week. Protect your family from fire!” As always, the focus of FPW is to prevent home fires. This year, the campaign also is urging people to protect their homes and families with planning and life-saving technology — such as smoke alarms!
Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan. Working smoke alarms cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire. Unfortunately, many homes have smoke alarms that just don’t work. In fact, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. About one in five smoke alarm failures resulted from dead batteries.
The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is urging you to use this week to be sure your smoke alarms are equipped to help protect your family from fire by putting the following tips into action:
- Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom. Larger homes may need additional smoke alarms. Never remove or disable smoke alarms.
- Interconnection of smoke alarms is highly recommended; when one smoke alarm sounds, they all do. A licensed electrician can install hard-wired multiple-station alarms. Wireless alarms, which manufacturers more recently have begun producing, can be installed by the homeowner.
- There are two types of smoke alarm technologies — ionization and photoelectric. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires — such as a pan fire or the smoke from cooking. A photoelectric alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires — such as a cigarette, overheated wiring or something hot such as a space heater. Install both types of alarms in your home or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms that take advantage of both technologies.
- Test smoke alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button. If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
- All smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and those that are hard-wired alarms, should be replaced when they’re 10 years old (or sooner) if they do not respond properly when tested.
We strongly encourage all Louisiana residents to participate in these events to learn more about the importance of smoke alarms and other ways to protect your home and family from fire.
H. “Butch” Browning
state fire marshal