COVINGTON -- The Newton County Fire Service is reminding residents when they "spring forward" Saturday night to change their clocks, it is a good time to make sure smoke alarms are in working order.
According to Fire Safety Educator Lt. Cydnie Taylor, a 2008 survey found that 96 percent of U.S. households had at least one smoke alarm, yet in the fire-year period between 2003 and 2008, no smoke alarms were present or none operated in two out of five reported home fires.
Further, Taylor reminds residents that almost two-thirds of reported home fire deaths from 2003 to 2006 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
"Smoke alarms save lives. Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms at all or no smoke alarms that work," she said. "When there is a fire smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out."
Taylor offered the following safety tips to remember regarding smoke alarms:
* Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
* 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, both types of alarms or a combination alarm should be installed.
* Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
* Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling.
* Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps," warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
* 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.
* Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement, in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice.
* Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These alarms use strobe lights. Vibration equipment can be added to these alarms.