As citizens “fall back” and move their clocks back one hour this weekend as daylight savings time comes to an end, the Joplin Fire Department urges families to take steps to make their homes safer by changing the batteries in their smoke alarms.
Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries, according to a 2019 report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. In addition, NFPA noted:
- Smoke alarms occurred in 74 percent of reported home fires in 2014–2018.
- Almost three out of five home fire deaths were caused by fires in properties with no smoke alarms (41 percent) or smoke alarms that failed to operate (16 percent).
- The risk of dying in reported home structure fires is 55 percent lower in homes with working smoke alarms than in homes with no alarms or none that worked.
- When present, hardwired smoke alarms operated in 94 percent of the fires considered large enough to trigger a smoke alarm. Battery-powered alarms operated 82 percent of the time. Power source issues were the most common factors when smoke alarms failed to operate.
Of the main reasons why smoke alarms fail to operate is due to missing batteries or dead/discharged batteries. The bottom line is working smoke alarms provide early warning, saving lives, preventing injury, and reducing property damage.
Smoke alarm batteries should be changed bi-annually, and detectors replaced every 10 years. Smoke alarms are available with non-replaceable batteries and are designed with a 10-year life span. However, whether replaceable battery or long-life battery they should be checked monthly.
For more information about fire protection and safety, visit the Association’s site. Other safety tips homeowners can take as cooler weather approaches:
- Have your furnace checked.
- Have your chimneys and vents checked.
- Test smoke alarms.
- Cover the fireplace with a screen.
- Beware of lit candles.
- Beware of space heaters.
- Know how to put out kitchen fires quickly.
- Practice an escape route.
- Fire extinguishers can be life-savers.
- All household members should know 911.
Joplin Fire Department