SMOKE ALARMS SAVE LIVES
Fire safety continues to be a primary concern, not only locally, but in the state and country. As of January 2018, the state of Pennsylvania ranked highest in the country, for the total number of civilian fire deaths. A significant way of reducing fire deaths is through smoke alarms/detectors. Smoke alarms provide an early warning of a developing fire and ample time to act. They provide a warning of any small fire developing or a smoke condition that could turn into a larger fire, such as a stove burner or pot left un-attended on a stove. Smoke alarms are only effective if they are functional and close enough to the smoke to activate.
A national fire department survey shows that in 41% of home fires there were either no smoke alarms or no operable alarms and accounted for 40% of home fire deaths. Households with older adults, who were 65 or older have more than twice the risk of dying in a home fire as the overall population. Locally the fire departments report that working smoke alarms were present in approximately 60% of home fires they responded to, and in less than 35% of mobile homes. There are three categories for non-operating alarms; (1) total absence of any alarm, (2) smoke alarms present but having no batteries or dead batteries, and (3) alarms present and not working because of age. All smoke alarms have an expiration date that is shown on the alarm. Smoke alarms should be replaced once they reach the expiration date. Even though an expired smoke detector may be working, the danger of relying on an expired alarm is the sensor begins to lose sensitivity.
As a reminder Middlesex Township requires smoke alarms in all existing and new residential buildings. A minimum of one code approved smoke alarm MUST be installed in each bedroom, in corridor outside each group of bedrooms and on each story of the dwelling, including basement level. Smoke alarms are required in hallways that lead from an attached garage. A carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm is required if heating or cooking is done by gas, coal, wood or liquid fuels and if residence has an attached garage. Ideally all smoke alarms should be inter- connected, so that when one sounds they all will sound.
As a friendly reminder on fire safety
* If there is a fire in your home, smoke and fire spreads fast.
* When a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately and stay outside.
* Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
* A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
* Replace batteries annually (Most recent manufactured smoke alarms have a 10 year expiration which includes the built-in battery).
* Have a fire escape plan and practice it, making sure children can exit safely.