Most fatal fires happen at night when people are sleeping, so when you hear the persistent beeping or chirping of a smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm, it is time to get outside as soon as possible and call 9-1-1.
From October 3 to October 9, 2021, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” for Fire Prevention Week.
Smoke alarms repeat three long beeps followed by a pause. CO alarms repeat four quick beeps followed by a pause. You can hear the difference at https://youtu.be/7EPWpiQIIVY
Working alarms save lives. So why, according to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) “Smoke Alarms in US Home Fires” report, do almost 60% of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms (41%), smoke alarms that did not operate (16%), or smoke alarms that were not connected to the home’s electricity supply or to batteries?
People tend to remove alarm batteries or dismantle them because they are annoyed by the alarms when they go off. However, silent alarms mean there is now no early warning to smoke or carbon monoxide, both of which can lead to injury, or death. At the very least, disabled or missing alarms can lead to problems with home insurance claims made following a fire.
First, install smoke and CO alarms in your home. Replace any alarms that are more than 10 years old. Then to make sure you can hear the sounds of fire safety:
- Replace alarm batteries every six months. A good way to remember is to replace them every time you change your clocks for daylight savings.
- If the alarm chirps, it might mean the battery is low and needs to be replaced.
- If the alarm continues to chirp after the batteries are replaced, it may mean the alarm itself may not be working properly and needs to be replaced.
- Test all smoke and CO alarms to make sure they are working. Press the test button every month.
- If the alarms are easily set off by smoky home cooking, clean your hood vent regularly or get a stronger one.
- If there is someone in your household who is deaf or hard of hearing, install bed shaker and strobe light alarms that will alert that person to fire.
This Fire Prevention Week, make sure your smoke and CO alarms work and “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” so you can respond immediately when you hear them.