Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s 2009, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) reported there were over 200 fire fatalities in the United States. “The 2008 holiday season and the start of 2009 may be recorded as one of the deadliest for residential fires in recent memory of the fire service,” said USFA Administrator Greg Cade. “Not only have there been a significant number of preventable fires, but the occurrences of multiple fatalities resulting from these fires are simply unacceptable within our nation. There should be a smoke alarm protecting every person in this nation today, particularly as we sleep.” In a fire, early warning is critical. In most homes, working smoke alarms alert residents of smoke and fire. How many smoke alarms do you need in your home?

At a minimum, smoke alarms need to be placed on every level of your home. Ideally, it is best to have smoke alarms in each sleeping room, as well as in the hallway outside each sleeping area.

To improve your chance of surviving a fire, remember the following:

  • Have a practiced fire escape plan.
  • Most fatal fires occur when people are sleeping. To keep smoke and flames out as long as possible, sleep with your bedroom doors shut.
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they are in good working order.
  • Replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year if using a standard smoke alarm.
  • If you have smoke alarms that are hardwired into your home, be sure they have a battery back-up or install a battery powered alarm to ensure you have early warning even if the power goes out.
  • Smoke alarms wear out just like all small appliances such as a coffee pot, hair dryer or toaster.Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years. If you do not remember when your alarms were installed, it is probably time to get new ones.
  • When replacing your smoke alarms, consider installing 10-year, Lithium powered smoke alarms.
  • For maximum protection, install both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms. Generally, ionization alarms respond more quickly to fast burning, flaming fires. On the other hand, photoelectric alarms tend to be more responsive to slow, smoldering fires.

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue has a “Free Smoke Alarm Installation Program.” If you live in the Central Kitsap area and do not have smoke alarms in your home, call us today at 360.447.3550 and provide your name, address and telephone number. Our fire crews will contact you to make an appointment to install a life-saving smoke alarm right away.