Haddam and Higganum
residents who need to replace outdated or non-functioning smoke alarms, or
who don’t have alarms at all, are being asked to contact the Haddam Volunteer
Fire Company or Haddam Public Health Office.
“It’s a great feeling to provide residents with a bit of comfort knowing that their home has a working smoke alarm,” said Auxiliary President Candy Veazie.
The FREE smoke alarms are available thanks to a grant from commercial property insurer FM Global. Residents who need a smoke alarm should contact:
Haddam Fire: (860) 345-4945
or Haddam Public Health: (860) 345-4621
If you’re not connected to a live person, please leave a voicemail and someone will return your call.
Veazie gave special thanks to Auxiliary member Donna Turnage for working closely with the Haddam Public Health Office, keeping them supplied with alarms and batteries.
Three out of five home fire deaths in 2007-2011 resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms, according to a report released this week by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
“You may have as little as three minutes to get out before a fire becomes deadly,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of outreach and advocacy. “The early warning provided by smoke alarms gives you critical time to escape safely.”
Here’s a scary stat: Five million American homes don’t have any smoke alarms. What’s more, the Institution of Fire Engineers found that a whopping 100 million smoke alarms are absent from U.S. homes.
Key findings from the report:
• The death rate was twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms as it was in home fires with working smoke alarms.
• More than one-third of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties with no smoke alarms while one-quarter were from fires where a smoke alarm was present but did not operate. Of these, 47 percent of the alarms had missing or disconnected batteries and 24 percent had dead batteries.
NFPA recommends that homeowners:
• Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
• For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms so when one sounds, they all sound.
• Use photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms or combination alarms, also known as dual sensor alarms. An ionization alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires.
• Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years or sooner if they do not test properly.
• Replace batteries in unwired models at least once a year, preferably twice a year at Daylight Saving Time. When disposing of 9V batteries or setting them aside to be recycled, make sure to cover the terminals with a piece of electrical tape so they if they do touch, a short will not be created.
• Test all smoke alarms at least once a month by using the test button.
Haddam Fire Marshal Bill Robbins said that battery-operated alarms aren’t the only ones in need of attention. Hard-wired smoke alarms also reach the end of their service life.
“Too often people think that once they have a hard-wired system installed, they don’t have to worry about it any more. That’s simply not the case,” Robbins said. “Just like any electrical appliance, the working components of smoke alarms wear out over time.”
Smoke alarms don’t just sit idle until smoke is present. In fact, they are working every minute, constantly monitoring the air 24 hours a day. An ionization smoke alarm, for example, goes through 3.5 million monitoring cycles in 10 years. In a photoelectric alarm, a light constantly looks for smoke coming into the sensing chamber.
When a smoke alarm reaches 10 years of use, the potential of failing to detect a fire increases. Replacing them reduces the likelihood of failure.
Watch for an upcoming article on Carbon Monoxide alarms.