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Fall Back Into Safety: Skippack Fire Company urges residents to change their clocks, check their batteries
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By Battalion Chief Keith Grierson
October 30, 2018

3 of every 5 home fire deaths occur in a home without a working smoke alarm.

The end of daylight savings (2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4) is rapidly approaching and the Skippack Fire Company (SFC) is urging residents to inspect their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors when they change their clocks. SFC specifically encourages residents to install smoke alarms equipped with sealed-in, nonremovable batteries that last for 10 years. These alarms do not require any battery changes during their lifespan and are nearly impossible to disable. SFC also encourages the installation of home fire sprinklers, which dramatically reduce civilian fire deaths and injuries, as well as protecting the responding firefighters.

According to the FEMA 106 civilian home fire fatalities reported by U.S. news media between January 1, 2018 and October 30, 2018, in Pennsylvania. Working smoke alarms are critical in preventing additional fire deaths. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or working smoke alarms. Firefighters frequently encounter smoke alarms with missing or dead batteries, meaning these homes are defenseless against fire. The fall time change provides an opportunity for families to take a few moments to check their smoke alarms and ensure they are in proper working order.

Most fatal fires happen between midnight and 8 a.m. It takes only a few moments for fire to spread through a house. Occupants of a burning home may only have minutes to escape before being overcome by the smoke and flames. Working smoke alarms help ensure people are awakened and able to take advantage of those precious minutes. Furthermore, NFPA research shows the presence of fire sprinklers lowers the civilian death rate by 81 percent, and the firefighter injury rate by nearly 80 percent.

Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they're working. Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old. Interconnect your smoke alarms so that when one smoke alarm sounds, they all do. If you have an alarm with a removable battery, be sure to check the batteries every six months, and change the batteries every year. If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you. Do not disable the unit.
Vacuum or blow out any dust that might have accumulated in the unit. Never borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else.
Never paint a smoke or CO alarm. Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window, because drafts could interfere with their operation. Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing smoke alarms and replacing the batteries.

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Skippack Fire Company
1230 Bridge Road
PO Box 1
Skippack, PA 19474
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