Knowing the sounds of smoke alarms and CO (carbon monoxide) alarms help save lives! This year, Fire Prevention Week is October 3-9, 2021. This year, the theme is Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety! ™
Understand the Sounds of Smoke Alarms
Nowadays, we get alerts all the time. Our phone beeps when we get a message, dings when we have to be somewhere, even alerts us that someone “liked” our social media post. We have been trained to know what each of those sounds mean...but what about our smoke alarms??
When the smoke alarm sounds, do you know what to do? Do your kids know what to do? Do they even know what it sounds like? What about when it chirps for a low battery alert?
When there’s a fire, smoke spreads quickly. Smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside fast.
Home Fire Escape Plan
So what do you do?
If the smoke alarm sounds, start your Home Fire Escape Plan to get everyone safely out of your home. Then call 911.
If you haven’t made a plan like this yet, we’ve got you covered. Download this Home Fire Escape Plan [PDF] created by the NFPA. It includes instructions on how to draw and practice your escape plan. So everyone in your home will know what to do when they hear the alarms “beep”. For a quick look, here are 4 Steps to Make a Home Fire Escape Plan.
Maintenance Tips for Smoke Alarms
But our smoke alarms only help if they actually work properly. Here are a few quick tips to maintain working alarms.
- Test smoke alarms once a month.
- We recommend changing the batteries twice a year. (Hint: Just change the batteries when you change your clocks for daylight savings time!)
- Replace a smoke alarm when it is 10 years old.
- Find more tips from the NFPA on smoke alarm installation and safety from this Smoke Alarms at Home PDF.
Have You Recently Moved?
If you’ve recently moved into a new home whether you rent or own it, test your smoke alarms. Look at the date to make sure it’s still within the 10 year mark. And change the batteries unless you know someone (like a landlord or property manager) just installed new ones.
It’s easy to take these small alarms for granted, just assuming they will work when we need them too. But if we don’t do our part, they may not do their job. It only takes a few minutes of maintenance once a month to give you peace of mind that you’ll get that extra warning. It can truly save your life.