Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue: Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives
By Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue
October is Fire Prevention Month, and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue wants to remind you to check your smoke alarms. It’s important to hear the beep where you sleep and make sure every bedroom has a working smoke alarm.
The majority of people who die in a fire succumb to heat and smoke inhalation, not flames. Having working smoke alarms in your home greatly increases your chances of surviving a fire.
Fire is nothing like what you see on television or in the movies. It produces dark and deadly smoke that can fill your home in minutes, and can confuse you to the point that you never make it out. That is why every firefighter wears an air pack before entering a burning building and uses thermal imagers to search for victims.
Most fatal fires happen at night when people are sleeping. Working smoke alarms are designed to activate early to help ensure that you and your family have time to safely escape from your home.
This year, the National Fire Protection Association campaign, “Every Second Counts ─ Plan Two Ways Out,” focuses on the importance of having an escape plan.
We recommend drawing a map of your home with all members of your household and marking two exits from each room and a path to your designated safe meeting place outside from each exit. One of those exits could be a window.
Once you have an escape plan, have a home fire drill and practice using different ways out. We recommend closing doors behind you as you leave to help slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. It’s important to teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
TVF&R offers the following advice to help protect your family:
- To ensure maximum protection, install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Check your alarms monthly by pushing the test button and replace smoke alarms 10 years old or older.
- Hard-wired alarms — those wired directly into home electrical systems — should have a battery back-up.
- Never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms.
- An alarm’s hush button allows you to temporarily silence the alarm.
- If your smoke alarm sounds, immediately exit your home, call 911, and stay outside.
Oregon law requires working smoke alarms in all rental dwellings. If you rent and do not have working smoke alarms, contact your landlord or property manager. If working smoke alarms are not installed after you have notified your landlord or property manager, call TVF&R at 503-649-8577.
Smoke alarms are also available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These alarms use strobe lights or vibration to alert residents.
For more fire prevention tips and tools to create a fire escape plan, visit www.tvfr.com.