2008-10-23 / News

Smoke alarms save lives when batteries are fresh

The Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs (RIAFC) is urging Rhode Islanders to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when they turn back their clocks this fall. Clocks should be turned back one hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2.

In 25 percent of the reported fires in homes equipped with smoke alarms, the devices did not work, most often because of missing, disconnected or dead batteries. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing the number of deaths and injuries, and have contributed to a nearly 50-percent decrease in fire deaths since the late 1970s.

In partnership with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the RIAFC offers the following tips regarding smoke alarms:

Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home.

Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

Test smoke alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.

If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with one that has a "hush" button. A "hush" button will reduce the alarm's sensitivity for a short period of time.

Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice.

According to the NFPA, nearly 900 lives could be saved each year if all homes had working smoke alarms.

For information on smoke alarms and creating an escape plan, call your local fire station or log onto www.nfpa.org.

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