Simple task can be a potentially life-saving one!Daylight savings time ends November 6th and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service is asking all residents to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working when they change their clocks this weekend.
“Home fires injure and kill thousands every year,” said Fire Chief Scott Goldstein. “Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. I encourage everyone to test their smoke alarms, replace any alarms that are 10 years or older and conduct a home fire drill this weekend.”
The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping. A working smoke alarm dramatically increases the chance for survival and provides advance warning of a fire resulting in more time to react and put a home escape plan into action.
Help keep your family safe by following these fire safety tips:
1. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, and in all sleeping areas.
2. Do you know if your smoke alarm is impacted by Maryland’s new law? Battery-only smoke alarms need to be replaced by 1/1/2018 with new smoke alarms that have sealed in, 10-year long life batteries.
3. Retire old smoke alarms and replace with new ones every 10 years. Like any electronic device, smoke alarms wear out over time and need to be replaced. The life expectancy of smoke alarms is 10 years. Smoke alarms work by sensing smoke particles and after 10 years, the smoke sensors lose their sensitivity. The test button only confirms that the battery, electronics and alerting system are working; not that the smoke sensor is working.
4. Plan and practice home fire drills regularly. Decide in advance who will help family members that may need assistance escaping (young children, older adults or people with disabilities).
6. Make sure children recognize the sound of your smoke alarm and how to respond to its signal.
7. Know your battery type. Sealed smoke alarms equipped with 10-year batteries are becoming more common and the batteries do not need to be replaced if they are sealed into the unit. Check your smoke alarms to see what type of battery it uses. While 10-year, long-life batteries do not need to be replaced annually, the entire smoke alarm unit does need to be replaced every ten years.Hard-wired smoke alarms, not affected by the new law, should have a battery backup and like all smoke alarm units need to be replaced every 10 years.
Got questions? Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service conducts free home safety checks of smoke alarms for residents at no cost. Please call 311 for information or visit our website for info as well as year-round safety information at www.mcfrs.org/mcsafe.