Smoke Alarms Save Lives

By Patricia Danflous

According to National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) studies, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from incidents in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.  Smoke alarms are key to a residential fire escape plan.  The right kind of smoke alarm ñ and one with working batteries ñ cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half.  Working alarms give you early warning so you can get out early.  NFPA recommends the following guidelines for home smoke alarms:

• Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area, upstairs and downstairs.

• Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.

• Use interconnected smoke alarms.  When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.

• Test all smoke alarms at least once a month.  Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.

• There are two kinds of alarms.  Ionization alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires.  Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires.  It is best to use both types.

• A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall.  Keep alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms.  They should be at least 10 feet from the stove.

• People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms.  These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.

• Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years.