SPRING FORWARD - TEST YOUR SMOKE ALARMS WHEN YOU SET YOUR CLOCKS FORWARD
California goes off daylight saving time at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 14th. To mark the occasion, the Southern Marin Fire Protection District recommends that you remember to "turn and test," i.e. test your smoke alarms at the same time that you turn your clocks. This will ensure that you check your smoke alarms at least twice per year, when we "spring forward" and "fall back."
A smoke alarm is an inexpensive way to protect your family from smoke and fire injuries, but you must take the time to test it to ensure that it is working properly. A properly functioning smoke alarm doubles your chance of surviving a fire by warning you of a dangerous situation before it is too late.
For minimum coverage, have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, hallways outside every bedroom, and in every sleeping area. You can also add alarms to the top and bottom of all stairways and often-forgotten places such as basements, attics, utility rooms, and garages.
Almost all smoke alarms have a test button that, when pushed, causes the alarm to sound. Most alarms also have either a blinking or a solid light that glows to let you know that the alarm is getting power. Please note that smoke alarms should be replaced after ten years. If you purchased your smoke alarms on or before November 2010, it is a good idea to replace them to make sure they are in working condition.
· Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement.
· Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
· It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
· Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
· There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use both types of alarms in the home.
· A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
· People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use 0special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
· Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
· A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
· Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level. Smoke alarms should be connected so when one sounds, they all sound. Most homes do not have this level of protection.
· Roughly 3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or the alarms are not working.