Thursday, November 4, 2010

Smoke Detectors: Time to Change Those Batteries

On November 7th we once again transition into "standard time". Other than the sadness that summer has passed, we need to be changing the batteries in ALL of your smoke detectors. I know we are relentless in reminding you of this chore..... they do work, and they do save lives.

For additional information on smoke detectors we are providing this information from the San Diego Burn Institute. For other fire safety information visit their site at:

Smoke Detectors

In a time of panic if a fire should occur in the home or office, a smoke detector provides the best protection against injury. It is estimated that 75-percent of older Americans who perished in fires did not have a working smoke alarm in their home, or the smoke alarm was inoperable due to dead or missing batteries. Do not allow yourself to become a part of this statistic. Make yourself knowledgeable about smoke detectors and be prepared.

Safety Tips:
  • Choose only detectors that are tested and rated by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Look for units with hinged covers that will not close without a battery in place. Also choose units that can be tested with a flashlight to make testing safer and easier.
  • Locate detectors on each level of your home and especially on the hallway ceiling near the air vents.
  • Maintain units by testing batteries monthly and replacing weak ones immediately with new and tested batteries. Replace all batteries at least once a year. If in doubt, replace a detector.
  • Vacuum the grillwork of your detector at least once a year. Cobwebs and dust can impair a detector’s sensitivity.
  • Two questions that should be asked are:
    • When was the last time the smoke detector was checked and confirmed to be in operating condition?
    • Does everyone in the household know what to do if the smoke detector alarm sounds?
  • Never paint a smoke detector.
  • If your sleep with your bedroom doors closed, it is a good idea to also install an alarm inside the bedroom.
  • Smoke rises, so mount the alarm high on a wall or on the ceiling.
  • Change the batteries at least once a year. If your alarm begins making a “chirping” sound, replace immediately.
  • Adults who are deaf or hard of hearing should invest in visual aids such as alarms with strobe lights. Flashing or vibrating smoke alarms should also be tested every month.
Facts and Figures:
  • Smoke detectors provide the best protection against injury if a fire should occur in the home or office.
  • Three characteristic of fatal house fires emphasize the importance of their early detection:
    • They often start during the early morning hours when people are asleep.
    • They frequently burn for a long time before being discovered; and
    • More deaths are due to smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning rather than from burns.
  • Use of effective detecting and alerting systems is estimated to reduce the number of fire-related deaths and injuries by at least 50%.
  • FREE smoke alarms for seniors!! If you are over the age of 55, own your own home, and do not have a working smoke alarm, you qualify for a FREE smoke alarm through the Burn Institute’s Senior Smoke Alarm Program. Please call the Burn Institute at (858) 541-2277 to receive your FREE smoke alarm installation.

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