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The importance of having smoke alarms in your home

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Posted at 1:13 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 17:02:07-05

LAS VEGSA (KTNV) — Did you know when people go to sleep, they lose their sense of smell

According to the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, most deadly fires occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., the time most people sleep.

This is why smoke alarms are necessary for your home, according to firefighters.

If a fire starts while you are asleep, it will warn you of the danger at a time when you most likely would not detect it. A fire also releases large amounts of deadly gases, including carbon monoxide, which will actually put you in a deeper sleep.

Not long after that, it will cause you to stop breathing and you will succumb to what is known as “smoke inhalation.”

90% of fires that are fatal are because of smoke inhalation. This will occur in most cases long before heat or flames would reach you. The smoke alarm alerts you at the very beginning of the fire, giving you adequate time to escape to a safe place and notify the fire department.

It is estimated that nearly half the homes in the United States still do not have smoke alarms installed and half of those installed may not work due to dead batteries, improper installation or because the unit service life has expired. (Smoke alarms last only 10 years.)

Another factor is the lack of preventive maintenance of a smoke alarm. To ensure it will work in the event of a fire, it needs to be tested on a regular basis and cleaned occasionally.

We are now entering a time of year when the smoke alarm is more important than any other time of the year.

In addition to heating devices used to stay warm, there is more cooking because people are home more due to the pandemic or holidays. During the holiday, there are electric decorations, candles, and live Christmas trees that add to the potential fire dangers. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of dryer fires (fires in walls with obstructed dryer ducts) because people are home more due to the pandemic.

Add all this up and it shows that smoke alarms are more important than ever. No person should go to sleep without a properly operating smoke alarm on duty.

Below are some safety tips concerning this most important piece of life-saving equipment in your home and what you should do in the event of a fire:

Smoke Alarms:

  • Have smoke alarms installed in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home.
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly; replace the batteries every six months. A good reminder is to do it when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time twice a year.
  • Some newer smoke alarms have 10-year sealed batteries that do not need to be changed.
  • Check the date on the back of your smoke alarm and replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • For homes that have gas-fired appliances, you should install at least one combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarm.

When the smoke alarm sounds:

  • Make sure everyone in your home knows the sound and understands the warning of a smoke alarm.
  • Some people, especially children and older adults, may need help to wake up.
  • Make sure someone will wake them if the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Get outside and stay outside.
  • Once outside, NEVER go back into a burning building.

EDITH (Exit Drills In The Home)

  • Make sure to practice exit drills in the home with every member of your family.
  • Create a home escape plan and make sure every member of your family knows two ways out of every room.
  • Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of the home where all can meet once they have escaped.
  • Have a plan for anyone in your home who may need assistance to escape, such as young children, older adults or people with disabilities.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1 once outside.
  • Practice your escape drills at least twice a year, during the day and at night.

If you do not have working smoke alarms in your home, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue will supply and install them at no charge through the Alarming Vegas smoke alarm program (certain restrictions apply).

Call 702-229-0366 for more information, or to make an appointment for a fire inspector to meet with you and see if you need smoke alarms.

If you qualify, the fire inspector will install them for free.

The information above was provided by Las Vegas Fire & Rescue.