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MEEKER I “Many homes in Meeker may not have any smoke alarms, not enough smoke alarms, alarms that are too old, or alarms that are not working,” said Fire Chief Steve Allen of the Meeker Volunteer Fire Department. “We want residents to understand that working smoke alarms are needed in every home, on every level (including the basement), outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom. And, if a smoke alarm is 10 years old or older, it needs to be replaced.”
Smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics show that working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire nearly in half. But they must be working properly to do so. The association’s data shows that many homes have smoke alarms that aren’t working or maintained properly, usually because of missing, disconnected or dead batteries. Roughly two-thirds of all home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Kids can sleep through most anything, which is often a blessing. But you certainly don’t want them sleeping through the smoke alarm. There is now a recordable smoke detector which allows a parent to record a message. One suggested message is to urgently call the child’s name twice and then tell them to get out of the house and go to the family meeting place. Studies have shown that kids are conditioned to respond to a parent’s voice and can react more quickly to a fire emergency.
The Meeker Volunteer Fire Department will visit the Meeker Elementary School during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 3-9, to teach fire prevention, what to do in case of a fire and to promote the use of smoke alarms. Residents can also learn about the power of smoke alarms, newer options for installing and maintaining them properly, and ultimately, how to better protect their loved ones from fire.
The Meeker Volunteer Fire Department offers the following tips for making sure smoke alarms are maintained and working properly:
• Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button, and make sure everyone in your home knows their sound.
• 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’re 10 years old (or sooner) if they do not respond properly when tested.