Did you know that most fire deaths occur in residential structures? Did you know that the majority of those deaths occur at night while people are sleeping? Did you know that smoke, not the flame itself, is usually what causes people to die? The good news is that many of these fire deaths are preventable. In fact, if you have working smoke alarms in your home, you have at least a 50% greater chance of surviving a residential structure fire. The picture above is of smoke alarms which actually saved the lives of people in Oklahoma City. Some are melted, some are charred, but they all did exactly what they were supposed to do; provide early notification that a fire exists.
The Oklahoma City Fire Department believes so strongly in the importance of having working smoke alarms that we implemented the “Project Life” smoke alarm program. Through donations and fund-raising efforts, The Oklahoma City Fire Department maintains a supply of long-life smoke alarms which we provide to our residents free of charge. We will come to your home and install them for you to ensure that they are in the proper locations. We believe every home in Oklahoma City should have working smoke alarms. If you are an Oklahoma City resident and need new smoke alarms, please call or visit any Oklahoma City Fire Station, or call our Public Education Office at (405) 297-3318 to schedule your free installation.
ANSWERS THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE
Why do I need a smoke alarm?
- Most fatal fires occur at night.
- Smoke is the killer in most fires.
- An alarm sounding can alert you while there is still time to escape.
What kind should I get?
- Select those approved by nationally recognized laboratories. I.e. Underwriters Laboratory (U.L.) or Factory Mutual (F.M.)
Where should they be installed?
- One per each level (including basement) of your home, and outside each sleeping area.
- On the ceiling, at least 6 inches away from the wall and 3 feet from any air ducts.
- On the wall, 6 -12 inches from the ceiling or any corner.
How many should I have?
- Smoke alarms should be inside of each sleeping area, outside of each sleeping area, and on every level of the home (including basements).
- Kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and attics are not good places for smoke alarms because cooking, steam, dust, and car exhaust can cause too many false alarms.
- If a smoke alarm is giving too many false alarms, try moving to another spot in the same area but never remove the batteries or take the alarm down.
How do I maintain the alarm?
- Replace batteries according to the manufacturer’s recommendations – or at least once a year.
- A chirping noise also indicates a need to change batteries.
- Purchase a 10 year (long-life) alarm with a lithium battery that never needs replaced.
- Test your smoke alarm once per month using the test button.
- Dust can damage your alarm’s sensitivity. Most units need to be cleaned once a year by dusting or vacuuming.
- Smoke alarms should last 7-10 years (varies by manufacturer) if properly maintained.