As citizens “fall back” and move their clocks back one hour this weekend as daylight savings time comes to an end the Joplin Fire Department urges families to take steps to make their homes safer by changing the batteries in their smoke alarms.
According to a 2019 report by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half.
In addition, NFPA noted:
In 2012-2016, smoke alarms, including those in fires too small to activate them, operating smoke alarms, and those that failed to operate, were present in almost three-quarters (74%) of reported home fires and sounded in more than half (53%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
Almost three out of five (40%) home fire deaths resulted from fires in which no smoke alarms were present at all.
The death rate per 1000 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke detectors (12.3 per 1000 fires) vs. homes with working smoke detectors at (5.7 per 1000 fires).
Dead batteries caused 25% of smoke alarm failures.
One percent of the deaths resulted from fires that were too small to activate the smoke alarm.
Of the main reasons why smoke alarms failed to operate is due to missing batteries or dead/discharged batteries. The NFPA report is full of statistical data. The bottom line is working smoke alarms provide early warning saving lives, preventing injury and reducing property damage.
Smoke alarm batteries should be changed bi-annually, and detectors replaced every 10 years. Smoke alarms are available with non- replaceable batteries and are designed with a 10-year life span. However, whether replaceable battery or long-life battery they should be checked monthly.
“We just want to encourage all residents to be aware of the safety precautions they can take to protect their families and pets,” said Fire Chief Jim Furgerson. “Installing a new battery is a simple measure that could prove to be life-saving.”
For more information about fire protection and safety, visit the Association’s site at http://www.nfpa.org.
Other safety tips homeowners can take as cooler weather approaches:
1. Have your furnace checked.
2. Have your chimneys and vents checked.
3. Test smoke alarms.
4. Cover the fireplace with a screen.
5. Beware of lit candles.
6. Beware of space heaters.
7. Know how to put out kitchen fires quickly.
8. Practice an escape route.
9. Fire extinguishers can be life-savers.
10. All household members should know 911.