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Community Development

Fire prevention
Smoke alarms

In the United States in 2008, approximately 83 percent of all fire-related deaths and 79 percent of all fire-related injuries occurred where we all feel the most safe and secure – in our homes. You can dramatically increase your chance of escape from a fire in your home by having properly installed and functioning smoke alarms.

Types of smoke alarms and cost

There are two basic types of smoke alarm technology available to consumers – ionization and photoelectric. Each of these detect smoke, however, one is better at detecting a smoldering fire with heavy smoke and the other better at detecting a fast-growing, flaming fire. It’s recommended that you purchase a dual sensor smoke alarm which contains both technologies. These smoke alarms typically cost between $25 and $40.

Location, location, location

You’ve heard this saying related to realtors selling homes, but it’s just as true when selecting a location to install smoke alarms in your home.

Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, including the basement. It’s recommended that smoke alarms be located in every sleeping area as well as in the areas immediately outside those sleeping areas (such as hallways).

To avoid nuisance alarms, do not install smoke alarms in kitchens, bathrooms, or garages. Use the ‘hush’ button to temporarily silence a nuisance alarm (such as from steam or burned toast).

Make sure it works!

Once you have selected and installed your smoke alarms, it’s important that you periodically test and maintain it. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as well as the following:

  • Smoke alarms should be replaced every 8 to 10 years
  • Test the alarm every month
  • If you purchase a smoke alarm powered by a 9-volt battery, the battery should be replaced at least once per year
  • If you purchase a smoke alarm with a 10-year lithium (long-life) battery, do not try to remove or replace the battery as this will destroy the device

For more information, contact the Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office at (360) 397-2186 or your local fire department.

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