Don’t Roll the Dice on Your Home’s Smoke Detectors

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Smoke Detector

“It ain’t want you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” ~ Mark Twain

Don’t sleep on uncertainty, especially when you could be waking up to the very real and smoky nightmare of your home in flames.

A home smoke alarm only works when it is properly installed and regularly tested. And the cost of not regularly checking the batteries in your home’s fire protection system is often deadly.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. More than one third (38 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.

Don’t roll the dice on your family’s healthy and well-being without the simple, smart and cost effective protection of a working smoke detector. For as the National Fire Protection Association notes, the odds of surviving a home fire are doubled in homes with working fire alarms. The NFPA notes working smoke detectors have helped cut the U.S.’s annual number of home fires in half from 1977 (723,500) to 2015 (365,500) and slash home fire deaths by over 50 percent (an average of 5,865 in 1977 to 2,650 in 2015).

“Working smoke alarms in homes are key to saving lives from fire,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy for the NFPA. “You may have as little as three minutes to get out before a fire becomes deadly. The early warning provided by smoke alarms gives you critical time to escape safely.”

The 30-Day, 6 Month Safety Check

FEMA recommends home owners test their smoke detectors once a month. Of course, no alarm can detect smoke without working batteries. FEMA recommends changing smoke detector batteries every six months.

To test your smoke detector, press and hold the test button. It may take a few seconds to begin, but a loud, ear-piercing siren should emit from the smoke detector while the button is pressed. If the sound is weak or nonexistent, replace your batteries immediately.

And remember, every home should have working smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

Oldies Aren’t Timeless Classics

Don’t trust that old reliable smoke detector you’ve had since 2001. The life expectancy of smoke alarms is generally 10 years, at which point their sensors can begin to lose sensitivity. The U.S. Fire Administration notes that smoke alarm units should be replaced every 8-10 years.

The NFPA warns a home structure fire is reported every 86 seconds in the United States. One civilian fire death occurs every two hours and 40 minutes. In Los Angeles this year alone, 16 people died in house fires with no working smoke detectors over the first seven months of 2016.

“The majority of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms,” Carli said.

Don’t let you or your family become a statistic. Regular smoke detector testing and maintenance will allow you and your family to sleep well and safe tonight and every night.

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