Change Your Clocks, Check
Your Smoke Alarms!!
October 29, 2009
Alaska State Fire Marshal David
Tyler along with the Ketchikan Fire Department and North Tongass
Volunteer Fire Department are reminding Alaskans to check the
batteries in their smoke alarms when they change their clock
from Daylight Savings Time this Sunday.
Many homes have smoke alarms
with 9-volt batteries that should be replaced at least twice
annually. Daylight Savings Time serves as a reminder to check
your smoke alarms and change the batteries. Long-life lithium
batteries have a life span of up to 10 years, so you may not
need to replace this type of battery as often.
The National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA) suggests that 90% of American homes are equipped
with smoke alarms but more than 50% of them are not in proper
working condition. "The key is to take a few minutes to
check, test and clean your smoke alarm to make sure it is functioning
properly, and what better time to do this than when you change
your clock from Daylight Savings Time", Tyler said.
Having working smoke alarms
is not the total answer in making your home fire safe. Practicing
general fire safety behaviors and preparing and practicing emergency
exit plans are essential to aid in preventing fires and fire
fatalities. "In today's times of modern technology, many
people are also looking towards taking advantage of residential
sprinkler systems. These systems are designed to put the fire
out before it can become a problem and is a relatively inexpensive
way to provide and even greater safety environment for your family",
It is important to remember
that manufacturer's guidelines for smoke alarm installation,
testing, cleaning, and replacing batteries should be followed.
General recommendations are as follows:
- Install smoke alarms in your
home if you do not currently have them. An alarm located between
the sleeping area and the living area offers a minimum amount
of protection. For maximum protection, install an alarm in every
room, on every level of your home.
- Smoke alarms loose sensitivity
over time and should be replaced. The approximate lifespan of
an alarm is 10 years.
- At least once a month, press
the test button to check your alarm. If the alarm doesn't sound,
replace the batteries. If this doesn't solve the problem, replace
the unit. Keep in mind that 9-volt batteries should be changed
at least twice a year. Start this practice to coincide with
Daylight Savings Time.
- Periodically clean smoke alarms
using a vacuum attachment or compressed air. This removes dust,
dirt, and insects that can interfere with a smoke alarm's operation.
- When a "chirping"
sound is noted, this is a sign that the batteries are weak and
should be replaced.
- Having properly working smoke
alarms can more than double your family's chances of surviving
The Ketchikan Fire Department
- This time of year is a good
time to have your boilers and heating equipment serviced.
Don't wait until your boilers are not working to call for service.
Annual maintenance helps prevent breakdowns as well as accidents.
- Carbon Monoxide is "The Silent Killer" and
can kill a quickly as fire. If you have fuel-fired (any equipment
that burns liquid or gas fuels, wood, pellets) equipment in your
homes or apartments, have a Carbon Monoxide detector. Check
and clean your flues, chimneys, make sure your heating equipment
is working properly and "Never" warm up your car in
- Heat tapes that protect plumbing exposed to the
elements are always a concern to fire departments. Frayed wires,
extension cords, and old or damaged heat tapes can lead to a
fire. Make sure your heat tapes are in proper working order,
circuits and electrical cords are not overloaded, and that heat
tapes are properly installed.
- Have a Fire Escape Plan for your family and practice it.
Always have two ways out of your sleeping areas. If windows
are elevated, have an escape ladder or other means of escape
ready. If you don't have two ways out, especially in sleeping
areas, you could become trapped in the event of a fire.
- Check your Fire Extinguishers, know how to use them, know where they
are, and how to maintain them. Know if you should fight a fire
or flee a fire. Fire can kill! Don't put yourself or your family
at risk attempting to fight a fire that is too big. Know your
limitations and the limitations of a fire extinguisher.
- The Ketchikan Fire Department
has free smoke alarms
available if you can't afford one or are in immediate need of
The Holiday Season is
about to begin. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New
Years are supposed to be happy and safe. Take a few minutes
and check your residence for fire and safety hazards. The Ketchikan
Fire Department has free information available that can help
you avoid a fire and help you and your family stay safe this
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Alaska State Fire Marshal's
Ketchikan Fire Department
North Tongass Volunteer Fire
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