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Importance of smoke alarms

Importance of smoke alarms

Posted: Friday, October 7, 2011 9:39 am
By: Bob Dudley, Special to The Press

Importance of smoke alarms | GFD Chief Bob Dudley, National Fire Prevention Week

GFD Chief Bob Dudley
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?
Weakley County’s fire departments are teaming up with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) during Oct. 9-15, 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 is also urging people to protect their homes and families with planning and life-saving technology –like smoke alarms!
Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Unfortunately, many homes have smoke alarms that just don’t work.
In fact, according to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. About one in five of smoke alarm failures was due to dead batteries.
Local fire department are urging you to use this week to be sure that 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 (including the basement), 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. (This is particularly important in larger or multi-story homes, where the sound from distant smoke alarms may be reduced to the point that it may not be loud enough to provide proper warning, especially for sleeping individuals.)
A licensed electrician can install either hard-wired multiple-station alarms. Wireless alarms, which manufacturers have more recently 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 – like a pan fire or the smoke from cooking.
A photoelectric alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires – like a cigarette, overheated wiring or something hot like 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.
The Greenfield Fire Department is holding fun, family-oriented activities during this week to support “It’s Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!” locally.
We strongly encourage Weakley County 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.
For more information about these events, the Greenfield Fire Department can be reached at 235-2645. For more information about
Fire Prevention Week and smoke alarms, visit NFPA’s website at
Bob Dudley – Chief
Greenfield Fire
Chair – Weakley County Fire Chiefs Association

WCP 10.06.11


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