(WTNH)– After a five year nationwide study, the National Fire Protection Association released a report in March shedding light on how effective smoke detectors are in alerting residents to fires.
More than 5 million U.S. homes still do not have smoke detectors, according to the NFPA report. “The households with smoke alarms that don’t work now outnumber the households with no alarms by a substantial margin.” In homes with working smoke detectors, the number of fire fatalities fell by 50 percent.
The report lists the following tips to ensure smoke detector effectiveness:
- Choose a smoke alarm that bears the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement
- Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home for the best protection. When one sounds, they all sound. Make sure you can hear the sound of the smoke alarm.
- Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.
- Test your smoke alarms at least every month, using the test button.
- Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm. For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. If that smoke alarm chirps, replace only the battery.
- An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms, are recommended