Ensure your smoke alarms are working properly this winter

A Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department official with a smoke detector. (File photo)

As the temperatures drop, people are beginning to turn on their heaters, cook on the stove more often and use space heaters.

With the increased hazards for house fires, it is the perfect time of year to ensure you have smoke alarms and they are working properly, according to a release.

A Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department official demonstrates how to use a broom stick to test a smoke alarm in a ceiling. (File photo)

The location of the smoke alarm matters. Remember the following:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Smoke alarms should not be installed near windows, doors or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet from cooking appliances.
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home – when one sounds, they all do.

Tips on maintaining your smoke alarms:

  • Test smoke alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to last up to 10 years.
  • For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace the batteries at least once per year.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they don’t respond properly; look on the back of the alarm for the date of manufacture.

Smoke alarms may chirp for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Loose or improperly installed battery – verify the recommended type of battery is being used, that it is working, securely installed and the battery door is completely closed.
  • Sensing chamber may be dirty – clean the interior of the alarm using compressed air or a vacuum. Clean the exterior of the alarm with a damp cloth and test the alarm after cleaning.
  • Batteries or smoke alarm need to be replaced – the batteries or entire unit may need to be replaced if none of the tips above resolve the solution.

Make a plan for your home, including:

  • Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Go to your outside meeting place.
  • Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a house fire in half. Three out of five fire deaths resulted from fires taking place in homes with no working smoke alarms.

For more information about the Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department, visit QueenCreek.org/fire. To receive additional information about smoke alarms, visit NFPA.org. To stay updated on news and events, follow the town on Facebook.com/QCFire and Twitter.com/TOQC_official.

The Queen Creek Independent publishes a daily newsletter and website. A print edition is mailed each month to 24,000 homes.

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