State Fire Marshal Michael P. Bell today reminded Ohioans that properly placed and functioning smoke detectors double the chances of escaping a residential fire. This reminder comes following several fatal fires in Ohio over the past two weeks.
“We have seen tragic reminders from all over the state during the past two weeks of how important it is to have smoke detectors in our homes,” said Marshal Bell. “Seconds matter in a fire and a working smoke detector could provide that valuable time needed to escape.”
Since November 24, fires in Ashtabula, Columbus, Shaker Heights, Toledo, Troy, Violet Township and West Chester have claimed the lives of 13 Ohioans, including eight children. In each of these fires, smoke detectors weren’t present, didn’t function properly or were placed in an ineffective location. Almost 90 percent of Ohio’s civilian fire deaths occurred in homes that had no functioning smoke detector. The most common cause of a non-functioning smoke detector is due to the removal of the battery for an alternate use.
“Smoke detectors are a small, but life saving investment for your home,” said Violet Township Fire Chief Kenn Taylor. “With the holidays approaching, I would encourage everyone to consider giving smoke detectors as gifts.”
Marshal Bell offers the following tips regarding smoke detectors:
- Install a smoke detector on each level of your home and inside each bedroom.
- Consider using dual sensor smoke detectors that combine ionization and photoelectric technology in one unit.
- Check your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least twice a year.
- Familiarize children with the sound of your smoke detectors.
- Do not remove batteries to put in other appliances such as personal stereos or games.
- If cooking smoke sets off the alarm, do not disable it. Wave a towel, open a window or turn on the range fan to clear the smoke.
- Smoke detectors wear out over time. Replace your smoke detectors every 10 years.
- Keep smoke detectors clean. Dust and debris can interfere with their operation. Vacuum over and around your smoke detector regularly.
- Hard wired smoke detectors with battery back-ups should be considered. When one smoke detector goes off, the others alert you to fire, too. The batteries in these types of detectors also should be changed twice a year.
Many local fire departments have programs to assist families that can’t afford smoke detectors.