Fire Safety Tips: Smoke Alarm Tips

About 3,500 Americans die each year in fires and about 18,300 are injured. Many of them might be alive today if they had only learned what to do if there is a fire.
Smoke alarms are primarily designed to alert you of a fire when you are sleeping. Most fire deaths are caused by smoke inhalation rather than being burned by fire.
It is very important to have a working smoke alarm with a working battery in your home. If you have that, it greatly lowers your chances of dying in a fire.
Follow these 10 easy tips on smoke alarms:
1. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to have a working smoke alarm that can sound fast for both a fire that has flames, and a smoky fire that has fumes without flames.
A “Dual Sensor Smoke Alarm” is the ideal smoke alarm to use in your home, but any smoke alarm is better than not having one.
2. Place a smoke alarm on the ceiling or high up on a wall of every level of your home and both inside and outside bedrooms.
Children and older people can sleep though the loud sound of a smoke alarm!
3. If you keep your bedroom doors closed, place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of each bedroom.
4. Check smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button. A single “chirp” sound means that the battery needs to be replaced.
5. Never take smoke alarm batteries out to put into other items like games or remote controls.
6. Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear the alarm sound.
7. If there is a fire, leave the home right away by crawling low under the smoke and never go back inside. Call 911 after you are outside the home unless you cannot get out.
8. If smoke from cooking makes the alarm sound, press the “hush” button, if your alarm has one. You can also turn on the kitchen fan, open a window, or wave a towel near the alarm until it stops making the sound.  Move the alarm further away from the kitchen if you continue to have problems.
Never take the battery out of the alarm.
9. Most alarms need a new battery at least once a year. Some smoke alarms have batteries that last for up to 10 years. If your smoke alarm is over 10 years old, replace it with a new alarm and a new battery.
10. If you rent, talk to your landlord about placing a working smoke alarm in your home. You still need to buy a new battery at least once a year for the alarm.
Smoke Alarm Maintenance – Dust can sometimes cause false alarms; use a vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment to clean the dust off the outside of smoke alarms at least once a year.
City of Madison Fire Rescue does not have smoke alarms to give out to citizens but we will be glad to either install or advise you where to install smoke alarms in your home or check the existing smoke alarms you already have in your home.  Please feel free to call (850) 973-5075 with any questions you may have about smoke alarms or to request assistance with smoke alarms.
Any group(s) that would like to have someone come out and speak about smoke alarms or any other fire safety topics, please contact Chief Bruce Jordan (850) 973-5075 or email:
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