Test smoke alarms
by Bobby Lee McCulley | March 12, 2018 6:39 am
It’s once again that time of year where Americans adjust their clocks for Daylight Saving Time, and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding Tennesseans to use this time change to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries as well.
“It’s proven that smoke alarms can save lives in the event of a fire – but only if they are working,” commented State Fire Marshal and Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “As Daylight Saving Time begins, we encourage citizens to change the batteries in their smoke alarms if necessary and check the age of these important devices.
“Any smoke alarm 10 years old or older should be replaced entirely as it may not function properly in the event of an emergency.”
Smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old no longer offer a reliable level of safety and are often the source for nuisance alarms. Fire departments are urging all residents to replace smoke alarms that are 10 years old or older.
Data collected by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance indicates that 54 percent of Tennessee residential structure fires, in 2017, occurred in homes where no smoke alarm was known to have been present. Additionally, 45 percent of smoke alarm failures during that period were because of missing or dead batteries in the device.
Both state and national data suggest numerous fatal fires occur at night while the victims are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause people to sleep more deeply, narrowing the chances of surviving a fire.
A working smoke alarm can double the chances of survival by increasing the amount of time a person has to escape a fire in their home.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is suggesting Tennesseans to utilize the following safety tips for residential smoke alarms:
-Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement and inside and outside of sleeping rooms
-Equip your home with a combination of ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual-sensor alarms
-Utilize smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries that are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years
-For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year (preferably twice a year during Daylight Saving Time)
-Remember, even alarms that are hard-wired into your home electrical system need to have their battery back-ups maintained in case of electrical power outage
-Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well
-Test alarms once a month using the test button
-Create a fire escape plan for your family with two ways out of every room and a designated outside meeting place
-When a smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to your pre-planned meeting place to call 911