Spring forward – and don’t forget to change the battery in your smoke alarm

press release from Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services

(Lawrenceville, Ga.) – Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Rescue is again using the onset of Daylight Savings Time to remind people to change the battery in smoke alarms.

“A working smoke alarm is your first line of defense when it comes to surviving a home fire,” said Gwinnett Fire Captain Tommy Rutledge.  Smoke alarms are designed to give added time to escape when a fire breaks out.  You may only have two-minutes or less to escape a home fire.

Every home should be equipped with working smoke alarms on each level, in the hallway outside the sleeping area and in each of the bedrooms.  “The more smoke alarms you have, the earlier you will know there is a fire,” Rutledge said.  Never ignore the noise of the smoke alarm.  A constant loud “beeping” sound from the alarm is an indication of smoke or fire in the home.  Follow your family’s home fire escape plan and get everyone outside safe and fast.  An intermittent “chirp” from the smoke alarm is an indication that the battery is going dead and needs to be replaced.  Many people take the battery out of the smoke alarm and forget to replace it.  Doing so will leave your home and family unprotected from the hazards associated with a residential fire.

A smoke alarm may be battery powered, hardwired or a combination of the two.  Firefighters suggest installing smoke alarms that are hardwired with a battery backup.  The alarm should also be interconnected so that when one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.  Newer smoke alarms may incorporate a long-life (10-year) battery.   In either case, the idea is to have more than one working smoke alarm in the home.  Be sure to test the alarm monthly and replace all smoke alarms after 10-years.

Another important fire safety tip is to develop a home fire escape plan.  Be sure to have two ways out and keep exit pathways clear.  Doors and windows should be secured from intrusion, but should be easy to open from the inside.  Provide a collapsible fire escape ladder to escape from the second floor if traditional exits are blocked.

Keep a multi-purpose ABC dry-chemical portable fire extinguisher close at hand.  A portable fire extinguisher can be used to extinguish a small fire that’s contained to where it started.  They may also be used to douse flames in order to escape a fire in the home.  Keep your home and family safe from fire by looking for and eliminating home fire hazards that could cause a fire to start or that may intensify the flames.

For additional information on home fire safety or to schedule a fire safety presentation, please contact the Gwinnett Fire Community Risk Reduction/Education Section at 678.518.4845 or e-mail fireprograms@gwinnettcounty.com.  The department offers free home fire safety surveys and a smoke alarm checks as part of its community outreach programs.  PRACTICE FIRE SAFETY EVERY DAY! 

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