Nashville, TN – The Tennessee State Fire Marshal Gary West is reminding 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 savings time.
“Alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly and should be tested monthly to ensure they’re providing the proper protection,” West says. “Use the extra hour we gain this weekend to make sure your home and family are fire-safe.”The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause people to sleep more deeply, narrowing the chances of surviving a fire.
The early warning of a smoke alarm can double the chances of survival by increasing the amount of time a person has to escape a fire in their home.
70 percent of the fire fatalities in Tennessee last year occurred in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. 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 occur, so even one night without an operational smoke alarm can be dangerous.
Here are some helpful tips on the importance of smoke alarms:
- Smoke alarms should be installed in every room where an occupant sleeps, outside every sleeping area and on each level of the home, including the basement. 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. Interconnect the alarms so that when one sounds, they all sound.
- Dust or vacuum smoke alarms whenever the battery is changed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
- Devise a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room and a common outside meeting place. Be sure to practice the plan with all who live in the home, including children.
- When a smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately, closing doors behind you. Go to your pre-planned meeting place and call 9-1-1.
- Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are available. These are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps in 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.
About the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. Visit our website at www.tn.gov/fire for more fire prevention tips. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.