State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak reminds Tennesseans to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors this weekend when they set back their clocks Saturday night for daylight saving time.
“Alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly and should be tested monthly to ensure they are providing the proper protection,” said McPeak. “Use the extra hour we gain this weekend to make sure your home and family are fire-safe.”
Many fatal fires happen 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.
It is critical to install smoke alarms and replace batteries regularly. Twice a year is recommended. This reduces the chance of alarms chirping to indicate low batteries. All too often, a battery is removed and not replaced, putting a home’s occupants at risk. There’s no way to predict when a fire will happen, so even one night without a working smoke alarm can be dangerous.
Here are some other tips for smoke alarms:
• Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home, including the basement. For best protection, smoke alarms should be installed inside and outside sleeping rooms. Make sure everyone can hear the alarm and knows what it sounds like.
• For the best protection, equip your home with a combination of ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual-sensor alarms.
• Smoke alarms with nonreplaceable (long-life) batteries are available and are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps on these units, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
• Test alarms once a month using the test button. Replace the entire alarm if it's more than 10 years old or doesn't work properly when tested.
• Devise a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room and a common meeting place. Share and practice the plan everyone who lives in the home, including children.
• When a smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to your pre-planned meeting place to call 911.
For more information on making your home fire-safe, download and print the State Fire Marshal’s home fire safety checklist at tn.gov/fire/fsk/documents/checklist.pdf.