As citizens spring forward an hour for Daylight Saving Time this Sunday, March 13, at 2 a.m., Valdosta Fire Chief Freddie Broome wants to remind citizens to test the batteries in their home smoke detectors.
“A properly installed and maintained smoke detector is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Chief Broome. “Whether citizens are awake or asleep, a working smoke detector is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without a working smoke detector. A smoke detector can help individuals and their loved ones escape a deadly home fire. It can also help save the lives of firefighters who would otherwise have to risk their lives by searching a burning home for residents.
Chief Broome recommends the following simple steps for fire safety in the home:
- Ensure that smoke detectors are installed on every level of your home and outside every sleeping area. If a family member sleeps with the door closed, install one inside the sleeping area as well.
- Test your smoke alarms once a month.
- Install a smoke detector at each end of hallways that are longer than 30 feet and at the top of each stairwell.
- Install smoke detectors on walls at least 6 inches from the ceiling and corner. Smoke detectors in kitchens should be kept away from cooking fumes or smoking areas.
- Sweep them off every month. Too much dust will hinder operation.
- Most smoke detectors are battery operated. These batteries should be replaced at least once a year, but twice a year is recommended. Replace batteries if the detector "chirps."
- Smoke detectors do not last forever. Check the manufacture/expiration date on the smoke detectors and replace as necessary. Replace any smoke detectors that are over 10 years old.
- Never disable a smoke detector installed in your home.
“Two out of every five fire deaths are in homes that have no working smoke alarms,” said Chief Broome. “Installing smoke detectors and replacing the batteries during Daylight Saving Time twice a year are relatively simple and inexpensive tasks that have proven life-saving capabilities.”
The Valdosta Fire Department has a smoke detector installation program that will inspect detectors and provide/install free smoke detectors in residences that have none. For more information, call 229-333-1836.