Almost every day, a smoke detector saves someone’s life. But a smoke detector can’t save your life unless it’s in good working order. By testing your smoke detector monthly, you ensure your safety as well as the safety of your family. In order to keep your smoke detector working, some additional maintenance is required. Because cobwebs and dust can impair a detector’s sensitivity, vacuum your detector at least twice a year. Do this when you replace the battery and remember to never paint a smoke detector.
Now that your smoke detector is in place, it is important to think about your fire reaction behavior. At home, have a plan of action for escaping from a fire and practice it. Know two ways out of every room, especially bedrooms. If your second way out of a two-story house is a window, one suggestion is to invest in a safety ladder. If smoke or fire blocks your escape, stay in the room and close the door. Seal the cracks around the door with sheets or towels. Until help arrives, stay low to the floor where the air will be cooler and less smoky.
In addition to your home escape plan, it’s a good idea to have a fire escape plan where you work. Know the sound of the fire alarm and how to activate it. Know your assigned emergency exits as well as an alternative in case fire or smoke blocks your primary exit. Make sure aisles, exits and exit signs are clear so you can leave quickly in an emergency. Remember to use the stairways when exiting from upper floors. The elevator is never a way out during a fire because elevators may become trapped between floors or take you directly to the fire floor. Now that you have begun practicing your escape plan at home request that fire drills be conducted at your place of work. Remember fire and disaster planning begins with you.
Smoke Detector Maintenance:
Each year in the United States fires kill approximately 6,000 people, injures an additional 100,000, and causes more than $7 billion work of property damage.
The leading causes of home fires are:
- Heating sources, like furnaces, wood stoves and space heaters
- Careless smoking
Smoke Detectors Can Make the Difference:
- They provide early warning of fires, allowing time for families to escape and fire fighters to arrive before the fire grows.
- Smoke detectors are easy to install. They should be installed on each level of your home and in hallways leading to the bedrooms.
- Once a month, smoke detectors should be tested either by pressing the test button or use the smoke of a candle beneath the detector until you hear the alarm.
- Batteries (if removable) should be replaced twice a year to prevent a disaster.
- Use the vacuum cleaner to clean dust away from the detector’s air vents.
- If you have false alarms from cooking or fireplace smoke, relocate the detector.
A smoke detector is something you cannot afford to be without.
Practice E.D.I.T.H. (Exit Drills In The Home):
Don’t wait for smoke and fire to surprise you, plan your home fire escape it's simple, quick and easy.
- Sit down with your family today and make step by step plans for emergency fire escape.
- Diagram two escape routes to the outside from all rooms, especially from bedrooms. Locate the enclosed exit stairs in an apartment building.
- Choose a place outdoors for everyone to meet.
- Never return into the building once you have escaped.
- Make sure children can operate the windows, descend a ladder, or lower themselves to the ground.
- Lower children to the ground before you exit from the window. They may panic and not follow if you go first.
- If there are window security bars over bedroom windows, at least one window must have bars that can be opened from the inside.
Planning and practicing a home fire escape plan is one of the most important things you can do for you and your family. For more information please contact Albany Fire Department Fire Prevention office at 510-528-5775.