Keep alarms in working order

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 31, 2002

For want of batteries, the alarm couldn’t work. For want of an effective alarm, smoke from a fire crept up undetected and suffocated a family before flames came anywhere near them. For want of the family’s escape, the fumes and fire spread and destroyed not only lives, the home, but also the house and its occupants next to them. What was left were surviving relatives and friends stunned by the loss of their loved ones. All for the want of batteries.

That is what can happen if you don’t take the responsibility to make certain your apartment or home has a working smoke alarm. You say that your apartment landlord has not provided one? Hound him until he does so. Report him if you must. Ultimately, it’s in your best interest – at the very least – to install, test and maintain these life-saving devices in your apartment or house.

In Suffolk, Fire Marshal A.G. Barrett has been visiting apartment complexes and speaking to residents about the necessity for working smoke alarms in each dwelling.

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During that time, Barrett has cited such two statistics:

nNationwide, nearly 700 children aged 14-and- younger die in home fires each year. In most cases, there were no working smoke alarms.

nThis year alone, Suffolk has had more than 200 brush, shed and home fires.

Another excellent point that Barrett has made is to keep fresh batteries in the alarms, and not to take them out for other uses.

Naturally, you should regularly test the alarms – say, once a month. Change as needed. One guideline is to do so when changing clocks to daylight savings time. Alarms themselves should be changed about every 10 years.

And whether you rent a house or apartment, insurance is a good idea so that if a fire still occurs and ruins property, you’ll have something to help you recover financially.

Want to know more about smoke detectors and other fire prevention and fire safety measures? Call the fire marshal at 925-5745.