Check your smoke detectors for National Fire Prevention Week

Jan Doherty, Public Education Officer, 509.625.7058

Friday, October 3, 2014 at 9:38 a.m.

Smoke detectors save lives. That is the message the Spokane Fire Department is delivering as National Fire Prevention Week begins Sunday.

Every home needs one detector on each floor level, outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom. Two out of three deaths in residential fires occur in homes without working smoke detectors. The fire department invites citizens to participate in National Fire Prevention Week Oct. 5-11 by testing the readiness of smoke detectors in your home.

This year’s National Fire Protection Association theme, “Working smoke alarms save lives. Test yours every month!” is based on an increase in civilian fire deaths in 2013 when 2,785 civilians died in residential fires. Two-thirds of those who died had been living in a home that was not protected with working smoke detectors. Either the detector or battery was missing or the detector was too old to be able to respond.

The Spokane Fire Department asks every household to do three things this coming week.

  1. Press the test button on each detector to make sure the batteries are still working. Common 9-volt batteries should be replaced each year or whenever they chirp. Long-life lithium batteries should last 10 years, the same lifespan as the smoke alarm itself.
  2. Determine the age of the smoke detectors in your home by checking the back label. If the date of manufacture was more than 10 years ago, replace the alarm as soon as possible.
  3. Locate the words “ionization,” “photoelectric,” or “photo-ion” on the back label to determine the type of detectors you have. The Spokane Fire Department recommends having at least one photoelectric or photo-ion detector on each level of the home. They provide greater protection in a smoldering kind of fire and will sound an alarm up to 40 minutes faster than ionization models.
  4. In the event of a home fire, you have less than three minutes to get everyone safely outside. Take five minutes this Fire Prevention Week to check out how well your smoke detectors could work for your family in a fire emergency!

For more information on smoke alarms, please call Spokane Fire Department at 509.625.7058.