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FASNY: Fall back into safety: Change your clocks, check your smoke alarms

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Sat, Oct 26th 2019 09:45 am

FASNY reminds New Yorkers to inspect their smoke alarms, as state leads nation with 92 home fire deaths

Guest Editorial by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York

As New Yorkers prepare for the end of Daylight Saving Time (2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3), the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York is reminding all New Yorkers to check the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Test that they are functioning. Homeowners with alarms that have sealed-in batteries should check that their alarms are still operational.

New York has experienced a particularly tragic year, leading the nation in civilian fire deaths. According to data from the U.S. Fire Administration, 92 civilians in the state have died in fires in 2019. This is particularly troubling given that the winter, typically the busiest time of the year for home fires, is still yet to get underway.

Working smoke alarms save lives. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms or in homes lacking smoke alarms. A quarter of all smoke alarm failures are caused by dead batteries.

Recent changes in New York law will help address this. On April 1 of this year, a new state law went into effect requiring retailers only sell smoke alarms with 10-year non-removable batteries. Smoke alarms equipped with sealed-in, non-removeable batteries are nearly impossible to disable and require little maintenance. This law is intended to reduce the high number of home fire deaths across New York.

“The busiest time of the year for home fires is upon us. All New Yorkers should protect themselves by checking that their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly,” FASNY President Steven Klein said. “Smoke alarms provide people with critical time to escape their homes in the event of a fire. We also encourage everyone to install sealed-in smoke alarms with non-removeable batteries. In addition, fire sprinkler systems are proven to save lives and these systems should be installed wherever and whenever possible.”

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Tips from FASNY

•Test alarms at least once a month by using the test button. 

•If you have a smoke 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 accumulate 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 and www.nfpa.org.

About FASNY

Founded in 1872, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) represents the interests of the approximately 105,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York state. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.

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