TO CHANGE YOUR SMOKE DETECTOR BATTERIES
may depend upon it
It is critical that
we establish an easily remembered time to change the batteries
in all of our smoke detectors. Some select the twice-yearly
changing of the clock as the time---fall back and spring ahead.
Some use the first day of spring and the first day of fall. Some
decide that once-yearly is sufficient with alkaline batteries,
and do it on their birthday. But please pick a rock solid date
that you will remember, and change that battery. If you are
unable to reach it, call your fire department to see if they can
help. They can also advise you on where you should place your
The Issue: Smoke Detector Neglect
Although smoke detectors are present in 94 %
of American homes, 20% do not work, mostly because of dead
or missing batteries. That means roughly 19 million homes
are at risk due to non-working smoke alarms and another 6
million homes are at risk due to no smoke alarms.
In the U.S. roughly 80% of fire deaths result
from fires in homes without working smoke detectors. Half of
the home fire deaths resulted from fires in the small
percentage of homes (6%) without any smoke detectors.
If a fire occurs, working smoke detectors cut
the risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half by providing
early warning and critical extra seconds to escape.
Eighty-three (83) percent of all civilian
fire-related deaths are a result of home fires.
The National Fire Alarm Code recommends a
minimum of one smoke alarm on each level of a home,
including one inside each bedroom for new construction and
one outside each sleeping area.
In addition to changing smoke alarm
batteries, smoke detectors should be replaced every ten (10)
Education is key. Less than one quarter (1/4)
of U.S. homes had smoke alarms in 1977. Although several
factors such as safer products, building codes and life
safety education played important roles, increased smoke
alarm usage played a major role in the nearly 50 percent
drop in home fire deaths since that time.
Somewhere in the nation, a home fire death
occurs approximately every three hours.
The peak time for home fire fatalities is
between 10 pm and 6 am –When most people are sleeping.
Households with non-working smoke detectors
now outnumber those with no smoke alarms.
Tragically, many people mistakenly believe
they’d be awakened by the smell of smoke in time to escape.
Clinical experiments have found that the sense of smell
actually lessens when people are asleep. In addition, smoke
disorients people and dulls their senses, making it less
likely that other cues, such as cries for help, will awaken
them. This is why working smoke alarms are so important.
Senior Citizens and Home Fires
Adults ages 65 and older are two (2) times
more likely to die in a house fire: those ages 75 & up are
three (3) times more likely and those ages 85 and up are 4.5
times more likely to die in a home fire. Many older adults
need assistance to walk and can not escape in time by
The sense of smell decreases with age, making
the elderly less likely to smell smoke and be able take
appropriate action in time.
Fire Safety and
Fire Safety in the Kitchen