State fire marshal to homeowners: Replace smoke alarm batteries

State fire marshal to homeowners: Replace smoke alarm batteries
Dead batteries can’t save lives, that’s why Tennessee State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance commissioner Julie Mix McPeak encourages everyone to change their homes’ smoke alarm batteries at least twice a year.
The recent move into daylight saving time was a great time to change those batteries when clocks were moved ahead one hour. “‘Change your clock, change your battery’ is an easy phrase to remember and practice,” Ms. McPeak said.
Residents who didn’t change their batteries this past weekend need to go ahead and change them.
“Smoke alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly and tested monthly to ensure you have the protection you need,” she said.
A working smoke alarm will double your survival chances during a home fire by giving you the critical time needed to escape. Most home fires occur at night when people are sleeping. A fire’s smoke and toxic gases can actually deepen your sleep, diminishing your chances of survival.
More than 90 percent of all American homes have smoke alarms, but as many as one-third of them don’t work — because of old or missing batteries. It is critical to replace batteries regularly — even if they appear to be working fine. Twice a year is recommended. This helps prevent the warning, low-battery “chirp” emitted by alarms. All too often, alarm batteries are removed but not replaced, putting home occupants at risk. There is no way to predict when a fire will occur, and just one night in a home without a working smoke alarm can prove dangerous.
Other tips to follow:
• Smoke alarms should be put inside and outside every room where residents sleep, and on each home level. All residents should know how the alarm sounds and what it means.
• Smoke alarms need to be cleaned and maintained according to their instructions.
• Have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room; teach it to everyone in the home, especially children.
• When the smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to a pre-planned meeting place.
Many local fire departments have supplies of donated smoke alarms, and departments will help install them in the homes of the elderly and disabled. Visit www.tn.gov/commerce/sfm/. The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/, @TNCommerceInsur (Twitter), http://on.fb.me/uFQwUZ (Facebook), http://bit.ly/ry1GyX (YouTube) Published in The Messenger 3.15.12

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