Daylight Savings Time ends this Sunday, November 2nd and Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins and the Columbia Fire Department would like to remind citizens that as they set their clocks an hour back, they should also test their smoke alarms and change the batteries if needed.
The National Fire Protection Association states that 90 percent of American homes are equipped with smoke alarms, but more than 50 percent are not in working condition. Working smoke alarms decrease your risks of dying in a fire by 50 percent. On average 3,000 Americans die each year of fire related injuries. In spite of smoke alarms’ affordability and availability, two-thirds of the people who lost their lives did not have working smoke alarms in their homes.
Children and seniors are at increased risk of dying in a home fire because of the lack of mobility, fear and confusion. Make sure children recognize the sound of the home’s smoke alarm and teach them to respond instinctively to its signal.
Smoke Alarm Placement
Smoke alarms should be replaced after ten years. Smoke alarm should be place on each level of the home, one outside of each sleeping area, and one in each bedroom. Smoke alarms should be mounted on the ceiling or on the wall 6 to 12 inches from the ceiling. Along with the installation of smoke alarms, a family should sit down and discuss a fire escape plan and practice exit drills in the home. All smoke alarms should be tested monthly.
Fire Escape Plan
Identify two ways out of every room and practice the drill with the entire family. Be sure all family members understand the lifesaving practice of crawling below the dangerously thick smoke and intense heat of a fire. Teach children to, “never hide, go outside.” Once outside the family should gather at a designated meeting place and then call 911.
The Columbia Fire Department encourages City of Columbia and Richland County citizens who can’t afford to purchase smoke alarms or those not capable of installing them to contact the Columbia Fire Department’s Fire Education Office at 803-545-3717 or visit their page to fill out the online request form http://columbiarichlandfire.net/request-a-smoke-alarm/ .