3 of every 5 fire-related deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms
Editorial by the Firemen's Association of the State of New York
The days are getting longer and the temperature is warming. This means Daylight Savings Time will soon begin, and New Yorkers will set their clocks forward one hour (on March 11).
The Firemen's Association of the State of New York (FASNY) urges all New Yorkers to take this opportunity check their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure their homes are properly protected.
If alarms have removeable batteries, those batteries should be replaced. Alarms equipped with sealed-in batteries should be tested to ensure they are in proper working condition. Alarms that are more than 10 years old should be replaced.
At the end of 2015, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that will require all smoke alarms sold in New York to be equipped with sealed-in, nonremovable batteries that last for at least 10 years. The new law will take effect in 2019 and marks an important step in improving New York's fire safety.
According to research from the National Fire Protection Association, three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, and the vast majority of smoke alarm failures are due to dead or missing batteries. Ten-year smoke alarms require little maintenance and, unlike alarms with removable batteries, they are nearly impossible to deactivate. Regardless of the type of alarm in one's home, FASNY urges everybody to take some time and ensure their alarms are in proper working order.
"Smoke alarms are the single most importance appliance found in every home," FASNY President Ken Pienkowski said. "FASNY urges all New Yorkers to conduct routine, simple maintenance to ensure these lifesaving devices are in proper order. We strongly encourage New Yorkers to install 10-year smoke alarms, which cannot be easily deactivated. Equally important is installing and maintaining carbon monoxide alarms, which are also critical in protecting life."
FASNY smoke & CO alarm tips:
- Test alarms at least once a month by using the test button.
- If you have an alarm with a removable battery, be sure to check the batteries every six months, and change the batteries every year. If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you. Do not disable the unit.
- Vacuum or blow out any dust that might have accumulated in the unit.
- Never borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else.
- Never paint a smoke or CO alarm.
- Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement, and in, or near each sleeping area.
- Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window, because drafts could interfere with their operation.
- Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing smoke alarms and replacing the batteries.
For more information on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and other information on fire safety and prevention, visit www.fasny.com
Founded in 1872, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York represents the interests of the approximately 110,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York. For more information, visit www.fasny.com