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Two recent home fire incidents underscore the life-saving power of working smoke alarms

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By Susan McKelvey

A family of eight was able to safely escape an overnight fire in their Phoenix, AZ, home this past weekend, thanks to working smoke alarms. According to local reports, the fire was started by unattended cooking on the stove, which caused significant damage to the home’s kitchen and attic.

“We’re just glad that everybody is o.k.,” said Alaina McLittle, who lived in the home. “You can always replace a house, but you can’t replace lives.”

Sadly, this sentiment was underscored by a home fire that occurred in Greensville, SC, last Friday, which claimed the life of 75-year-old Mark Walker. Firefighters were unable to detect any evidence of a smoke alarm in the home, where Walker lived alone. An autopsy revealed that he died from smoke inhalation and heat related injuries.

As reinforced by these two incidents, working smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a home fire. That’s why it’s so important to follow these basic smoke alarm guidelines:

  • Install one smoke alarm on every level of the home, in every bedroom and outside all sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • For smoke alarms that include a 10-year, non-replaceable battery, replace the entire smoke alarm if it begins to “chirp”, indicating that the battery is running low. For smoke alarms that use regular batteries, either replace them annually, or before then if they begin to chirp.
  • Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years or sooner if they don’t respond properly when tested.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.

For more information on smoke alarm installation, testing and maintenance, visit Smoke Alarm Central, NFPA’s complete source for smoke alarm information.

Source:: NFPA – Safety Information


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