Cal-Fire states approximately two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Since most fatal fires occur at night, it's essential that every home has working smoke alarms to provide an early warning. Working smoke alarms increase the chance of surviving a home fire by 50 percent.
Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, in the hallways leading to the bedrooms, and on each level of your home, including the basement. Smoke alarms should be mounted on the ceiling 4" from the wall; wall mounts should be 4-12" from the ceiling. Do not install near draft areas (windows, vents.). Call your local fire department if you are unsure about placement.
Battery Replacement Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, replace only the battery.
Test your smoke alarm. A suggested frequency is every month by simply holding down the test button. Vacuum your alarm at least once a year, dust and cobwebs can impair sensitivity. Never paint over a smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
If the alarm goes off, crawl low to the ground under the smoke and exit your home quickly. Don't try to take anything with you, just get out. Once safely outside, go to your family meeting place to ensure that everyone got out safely. Once you're out, stay out! Make sure to prepare and practice an escape plan including a family meeting place. Just like schools practice fire drills, families should also practice what to do if their smoke alarms go off. Remember, every day a smoke alarm saves somebody's life.
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