Smoke, CO Alarms Can Save Lives

Crime / Aug. 10, 2017 11:33am EDT

In the wake of last week’s tragic fire in Williamstown, the Vermont Division of Fire Safety (DFS) reminds everyone of the importance of having properly installed and maintained smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in the home, so future tragedies can be avoided.

National statistics indicate that 85% of all U.S. fire deaths occur in homes, including apartment buildings. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms provide critical early warning of a fire, giving people extra time to escape.

Between 2009-13, smoke alarms sounded in more than half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.

The death rate was more than twice as high in homes without working smoke alarms than in homes with them.

In fires where smoke alarms were present, but did not operate, almost half of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Dead batteries were the cause of onequarter of the smoke alarm failures.

In a press release, DFS urged everyone to make sure smoke alarms are properly installed on every floor level of the home, outside the immediate area of all sleeping rooms, and in each sleeping room.

“We encourage and require photoelectric type smoke alarms to give you the earliest possible warning of a smoldering fire, typical of a home fire. Every month the smoke alarms need to be tested and accordingly smoke alarms have a shelf-life and should be replaced every 10 years— at most,” the release stated.

In addition to having working smoke alarms, another important element is to have a fire evacuation plan that is shared and practiced with the family. Do not re-enter a burning building and make sure you have two ways of out of every room.

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