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Fall back into safety: FASNY urges NYers to change their clocks, check their batteries

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Tue, Oct 30th 2018 04:35 pm
3 of every 5 home fire deaths occur in a home without a working smoke alarm
By the Firemen's Association of the State of New York
The end of daylight savings (2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4) is rapidly approaching and the Firemen's Association of the State of New York is urging New Yorkers to inspect their smoke alarms when they change their clocks. FASNY specifically encourages New Yorkers to install smoke alarms equipped with sealed-in, nonremovable batteries that last for 10 years. These alarms do not require any battery changes during their lifespan and are nearly impossible to disable. FASNY also encourages the installation of home fire sprinklers, which dramatically reduce civilian fire deaths and injuries, as well as protecting the responding firefighters.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, New York state has experienced 107 civilian fire deaths thus far in 2018, ranking second in the nation behind Texas (as of Oct. 29). Working smoke alarms are critical in preventing additional fire deaths.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or working smoke alarms. Firefighters frequently encounter smoke alarms with missing or dead batteries, meaning these homes are defenseless against fire. The fall time change provides an opportunity for families to take a few moments to check their smoke alarms and ensure they are in proper working order.
Most fatal fires happen between midnight and 8 a.m. It takes only a few moments for fire to spread through a house. Occupants of a burning home may only have minutes to escape before being overcome by the smoke and flames. Working smoke alarms help ensure people are awakened and able to take advantage of those precious minutes. Furthermore, NFPA research shows the presence of fire sprinklers lowers the civilian death rate by 81 percent, and the firefighter injury rate by nearly 80 percent.
"New York State has already experienced a tragic year for fire deaths," FASNY President Steven E. Klein said. "This is particularly disturbing considering that winter - the busiest time of the year for home fires - has yet to truly arrive. Installing and maintaining working smoke alarms, particularly smoke alarms with 10-year batteries, is the most important thing people can do to protect themselves and their families. Taking a few minutes to inspect and install smoke alarms now could be the difference between tragedy and survival."
In December of 2015, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation banning the sale of smoke alarms equipped with removeable batteries in New York. This is an important step in the effort to reduce fire deaths in the state. The legislation takes effect in April of 2019.
Smoke Alarm Tips from NFPA & FASNY
  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they're working. Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.
  • Interconnect your smoke alarms so that when one smoke alarm sounds, they all do.
  • 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.
  • 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, visit www.NFPA.org.
About FASNY 
Founded in 1872, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York represents the interests of the approximately 105,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.  

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