Change your clocks, change your batteries !!!!!!!
Smoke alarms & fire -- statistics
Most consumers don't think about a fire until one happens. As part of its commitment to educating the public on fire safety and prevention, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) asks consumers to think about fire now to minimize the risk of it happening later-and to minimize the risk of injury or death if one happens.
- On average, candles caused 15,800 home fires from 2002 to 2005.
- Cooking-related incidents were the No. 1 cause of 2006 residential fires.
- According to the U.S. Fire Administration, in 2006:
- 3,245 civilians died because of a fire.
- 16,400 civilians were injured because of a fire.
- Fire killed more Americans than all natural disasters combined.
- Direct property loss due to fires was estimated at $11.3 billion, a 15 percent increase from 2004.
Who is at risk?
- Children and adults age 65 and older are twice as likely to die in a fire as the average adult.
- Tip: Activate your smoke alarm while children are sleeping to determine how they respond to the alarm. Plan a fire escape plan to consider their needs.
The importance of working smoke alarms
- Fire deaths have been cut in half since smoke alarms were introduced in the late 1970s.
- An estimated 95 percent of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm.
- Two-thirds of reported residential fire deaths occurred in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- Fire deaths in homes with working smoke alarms are 51 percent less than the death rate for homes without this protection.
- An estimated 20 percent of U.S. homes do not have working smoke alarms, primarily because of missing or dead batteries.
- Nuisance activations are the leading cause of disabled smoke alarms. In other words, "nuisance activations" occur when a smoke alarm detects steam from a shower or stove, thus falsely alerting residents of a fire. When this happens, most people take out the batteries, or disable the alarm.
- Tip: If your alarm sounds when it detects steam from a shower or food burning on the stove, consider moving it into an area adjacent to the bathroom or kitchen to prevent nuisance activations.
- Almost 900 lives could be saved each year if all homes had working smoke alarms.
Information gathered from the U.S. Fire Administration, National Fire Protection Association and a study conducted by the University of Washington and the Injury Prevention and Research Center.
Five things to know
Sixty-five percent of reported home fire deaths occurred in homes with either no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Here are the most important things consumers should remember about smoke alarms:
- Install both photoelectric and ionization smoke alarm technologies to optimize your family's fire protection by providing them with the best available escape time in residential fires.
- Remember that interconnected smoke alarms also are beneficial to fire protection. When one smoke alarm senses fire, all alarms sound, regardless of where the fire starts.
- Install at least one UL-Listed smoke alarm on every level of the home, including the basement and outside each sleeping area.
- Never disconnect a smoke alarm or remove the batteries for any reason, except to change them. If the smoke alarm begins chirping or causing a nuisance, it's best to replace the batteries.
- Test your smoke alarm at least once a month.Maximizing safety: proper smoke alarm use
For the most part, consumers know they should have a working smoke alarm installed in their home. However, many are unaware of the options available to optimize protection for their families.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the independent product safety testing and certification organization, encourages consumers to consider the following tips when buying, installing and maintaining their smoke alarms:
- The use of both photoelectric and ionization technologies optimizes detection, and could offer the best available escape time in residential fire situations.
- Ionization smoke alarms are best suited for alerting home occupants of fires originating from a flaming source - such as a lit candle igniting a towel.
- Photoelectric smoke alarms are most effective at sounding when fires originate from a smoldering source - such as a lit cigarette falling into a couch cushion.
- Dual-technology alarms combine the science of ionization and photoelectric sensors into a single unit.
- Interconnected smoke alarms, with units in several areas of the home, will help alert occupants in all areas of a home simultaneously, regardless of where the smoke starts.
The National Fire Protection Association and UL recommend the following tips when installing your smoke alarms:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, making sure that there is an alarm outside every separate sleeping area. New homes are required to have a smoke alarm in every sleeping room and all smoke alarms must be interconnected.
- Hard-wired smoke alarms should be installed by a qualified electrician and have battery backups in case of a power outage.
- If you sleep with bedroom doors closed, have a qualified electrician install interconnected smoke alarms in each room so that when one alarm sounds, they all sound.
- If you or someone in your home is deaf or hard of hearing, consider installing an alarm that combines flashing lights, vibration and/or sound.
- Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Ceiling mounted alarms should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
- If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm near the ceiling's highest point.
- Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
- Dust smoke alarm vents regularly to prevent particles from blocking sensors.
- Never disconnect a smoke alarm or remove the batteries for any reason, except to change them.
- If a smoke alarm starts chirping, replace the batteries.
- Replace the batteries in your smoke alarm once a year, or as soon as the alarm "chirps," warning that the battery is low.
- Tip: Schedule battery replacements for the same day you change your clocks from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time in the fall.
- Smoke alarm technology is constantly improving. Replace smoke alarms every 10 years, or as the manufacturer recommends - even if you've never had a house fire.
Other important considerations
- Some individuals, particularly children, the elderly, and those hard of hearing or with special needs, may not wake up to the sound of a smoke alarm. Be sure your home fire escape plan considers their needs.
- Develop a home fire escape plan. Today, people have only about three to four minutes to escape a residential fire. Early planning - and practice - helps ensure family members know exactly what to do if you have a home fire.
- Look for the UL Mark when purchasing a smoke alarm. The symbol indicates representative samples have been tested to show that the alarms meet UL's stringent safety standards.
Types of smoke alarms
In 2006, more than 16,400 people were injured as a result of a fire-and another 3,425 individuals died because of a fire, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Smoke alarms reduce the likelihood of residential fire-related fatalities by half. In fact, smoke alarms have contributed to a nearly 50 percent reduction in fire deaths since the late 1970s, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
But smoke alarms can provide occupants with early warning and additional time to escape only if they work. A recent study by the University of Washington and the Injury Prevention and Research Center revealed that 20 percent of American homes do not have working smoke alarms. The study indicated that the primary reason for non-working smoke alarms is missing or dead batteries.
Additionally, many consumers know they should have a working smoke alarm installed in their home, but are unaware of the options available to optimize protection for their families.
Different types of smoke alarms detect different types of smoke, based on the nature of the fire. Today, three varieties of smoke alarms-photoelectric, ionization and dual-technology-are available:
- Photoelectric Alarms - quickly sense smoke from smoldering, smoky fires, such as those ignited by a cigarette falling between sofa cushions.
- Ionization Alarms -quickly sense smoke caused by flaming, fast-moving fires, such as a kitchen fire.
- Dual-Technology (Dual-Sensor) Alarms - contain both photoelectric and ionization sensors in one unit.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the independent product safety testing and certification organization, recommends consumers have photoelectric and ionization smoke alarm technologies in their homes to provide families with the best available escape time. Based on evolving smoke alarm research, members of the fire safety community are joining together to inform consumers that having either type of smoke alarm is good, but having both technologies is best.
Consumers also should install at least one UL-Listed smoke alarm on every level of the home, including the basement and outside each sleeping area. Installing interconnected smoke alarms is also beneficial for fire protection. When one alarm senses smoke, alarms sound in all areas of a home, regardless of where the fire starts.