The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), is promoting “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!” as the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, October 3-9.
“Many homes in Indiana have no smoke alarms, too few smoke alarms, alarms that are too old, or alarms that are not working,” states Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson in a press release issued on October 4, 2010. “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. If a smoke alarm is 10 years old, it needs to be replaced.”
Data collected by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) seems to show that many homes have smoke alarms that either aren’t working or aren’t properly maintained. The most commonly cited maintenance issues were missing, disconnected or dead batteries.
NFPA statistics show that working smoke alarms reduce the chance of death in a fire by nearly half. Roughly two-thirds of all home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office also suggests the following tips and actions for making sure that the smoke alarms in your home 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.
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 or disable a smoke alarm.
Replace your batteries at least twice a year. A good time to do this is when you change your clocks.
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 not be loud enough to provide proper warning, especially for sleeping individuals.
Check with your local Fire Department for activities and programs planned in your community including schools, churches and businesses. To learn more about the “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!” campaign, visit NFPA’s Web site.
IDHS Fire Safety site
NFPA General Fire Safety Information