HIAWASSEE, Ga. – While having a smoke detector in homes is important, it is also crucial to properly maintain the lifesaving devices. Agent Kimberly Farner of Kim Farner Agency, in cooperation with the Georgia Arson Control Board, offered the citizens of Towns County helpful smoke detector information and maintenance tips this week.
“According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke detectors,” Farner said. “A working smoke detector significantly increases the chances of surviving a deadly home fire.” That’s why smoke detectors are essential. They warn before smoke is smelled and provide time to get to safety. Experts recommend at least one smoke detector on every level of a home, including the basement and the attic.
Farner offered the following tips for protecting families and homes from fire:
- There are many different brands of smoke detectors available on the market, but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.
- The United States Fire Administration (USFA) recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with both ionization AND photoelectric smoke detectors, or dual sensor smoke detectors, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.
- If the smoke detector is powered by battery, it runs on either a disposable 9-volt battery or a non-replaceable 10-year lithium “long-life” battery.
- Smoke detectors are not expensive and are worth the lives they can help save. Ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors cost between $6 and $20. Dual sensor smoke detectors cost between $24 and $40.
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or early in the morning, so the U.S. Fire Administration recommends installing smoke detectors both inside and outside of sleeping areas.
- Smoke detectors must be maintained. A smoke detector with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke detector at all.
- The entire smoke detector unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.
- Since you cannot (and should not) replace the lithium battery, the entire smoke detector unit should be replaced according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Test the alarm monthly.
The American Red Cross responds every 8 minutes to assist those affected by a house fire. “Every day, seven people die in home fires, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately lose their lives. The American Red Cross wants to improve the odds and save lives, that’s why we launched our Home Fire Campaign in 2014. A critical part of the campaign is Sound the Alarm, a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across the country. Red Cross volunteers, along with fire departments and other partners canvass at-risk neighborhoods, installing free smoke alarms, replacing batteries in existing alarms, and providing fire prevention and safety education. In just five years, we’ve accomplished so much, including the installation of almost 2 million smoke alarms and making almost 1 million households safer through our home visits.” Towns county Fire and Rescue, in cooperation with Servpro, has particpated in the program in past years.
The Georgia Arson Control Program, Inc. (GAC) was formed in January of 1979 by property and casualty insurers writing business in Georgia. GAC, with the cooperation of the Commissioner, Georgia Department of Insurance and Safety Fire, and state/local law enforcement agencies, established an ARSON HOTLINE 1-800-282-5804. A reward fund of up to $10,000 was initiated from which monetary rewards are given to individuals who come forward with information that results in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for arson and/or fraud.”