With daylight savings time ending on Sunday, Nov. 6, the Washington state Fire Marshal’s Office encourages residents to check their smoke alarms when turning back their clocks.
“Working smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan, and they save lives by cutting the risk of dying in a home fire by half,” the Fire Marshal’s Office stated in a news release, citing data that show approximately 85% of fire fatalities in Washington state last year occurred in areas where smoke alarms should have been installed, and of that number, 30% of the smoke alarms were found to be present and operational.
The Fire Marshal’s Office encourages Washington residents to consider the following guidelines for all home smoke alarms:
• Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, in hallways outside bedrooms and on every floor of the home, including basements. Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
• Install smoke alarms that have strobe lights and bed shakers for those who are hard-of-hearing or deaf.
• Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years from the manufacture date. If the alarms chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. Also, replace the smoke alarm if the manufacture date is more than 10 years old.
• Press the test button to ensure your smoke alarm is working properly. Also make sure everyone in the home knows the sound a smoke alarm makes and how to respond if it goes off.
• It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
• Rental housing must also have working smoke alarms. Contact your landlord or property manager if your rental home does not have smoke alarms installed. Maintenance and testing of smoke alarms is the responsibility of the tenant.
• Contact your local fire agency for additional assistance. Many local fire agencies have smoke alarm programs that may provide free devices and installation.
For more information, contact the state Fire Marshal’s Office at 360-596-3929.