Pacific Fire Chief Rick Friedmann says working smoke alarms detect and alert people to fire in its early stages, providing the warning needed to escape safely.
According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half. However, smoke alarms don’t work forever.
As fire chief of the Pacific Fire Protection District, Friedmann said he is concerned that the presence of smoke alarms in the residents’ homes (most U.S. homes have at least one) may give them a false sense of security.
Oftentimes, people don’t know how old their smoke alarms are, if they’re still functioning properly, or at all, he said. That lack of awareness can have deadly consequences: nearly two-thirds of all home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms more than 10 years old no longer offer a reliable level of safety, Chief Friedmann said.
The Pacific Fire Protection District urges all residents to determine how old their smoke alarms are. The date of manufacture is located on the back of the alarm.
If they’re 10 years old or older, replace them immediately, said Chief Friedmann. This includes smoke alarms that use 10-year batteries and/or are hard-wired.
In accordance with NFPA, the Pacific Fire Protection District offers the following recommendations for buying and installing smoke alarms:
• Purchase combination smoke alarms or both ionization and photoelectric alarms.
• Make sure smoke alarms have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. (Some older homes may not have smoke alarms installed in bedrooms, but it’s important that these locations include them to provide adequate warning.)
Time and time again, the Pacific Fire Protection District has witnessed the life-saving impact of smoke alarms, Chief Friedmann said. Firemen also know tragedy can result from smoke alarms that aren’t working properly.
The fire district strongly encourages all residents to inspect their smoke alarms today, and to replace them, if necessary, as soon as possible.
Anyone with questions or concerns about smoke alarms and/or smoke alarm installation, should contact Pacific Station 1 at 636-257-4160 or Pacific Station 2 at 636-257-2811; or visit www.nfpa.org/smokealarms for more information.
The Pacific Fire Protection District applied and was awarded a grant from the ECMA Fire Grants in the amount of $15,845.00.
This grant is for the purchase and installation of 10-year battery operated smoke detectors into homes where the current smoke detectors were past the 10-year life expectation or in homes that have no working smoke detectors at all.
Starting in mid-March, the Pacific Fire Protection District started a smoke detector installation program. The fire district conducted a door-to-door campaign in older subdivisions where it believes smoke detectors are past the 10-year life expectancy.