Do Your Smoke Detectors Work?

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By Rebecca Barnes 

Smoke reaching smoke alarm on ceiling

Usually you only hear about smoke detectors when the time changes. However, a recent fire hit a little too close to home. Just a few weeks ago, one of our writers was displaced and her neighbors lost their homes to a fire. So we have to ask. Do you have working smoke detectors in your home?

Communities nationwide witness tragic home fire deaths each year, but everyone can work together to help reduce the number of home fire fatalities. Approximately every three hours, a home fire death occurs somewhere in the nation, and 66 percent of those occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Non-working smoke alarms rob residents of the protective benefits home fire safety devices were designed to provide. The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms: worn or missing batteries.

Changing smoke alarm batteries twice a year, testing those alarms and reminding others to do the same are some of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. Additionally, the International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends replacing smoke alarms in homes every 10 years and having both ionization and photo electric smoke alarms to alert people to all types of home fires.

“The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are sleeping,” said Chief McAllister of the OWL Volunteer Fire Department in Woodbridge. “Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.”

Rebecca Barnes, publisher of Prince William Living, is also the public information officer and board member of Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department.


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