Let's Hear It For Fire Safety: Test Your Detector
Smoke detectors are not new. The technology has been around since the 1960's. The single-station, battery-powered smoke detector became available in the 1970's. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 93% of U.S. homes have at least one smoke detector. Smoke detectors save so many lives that the California Building Code requires that each dwelling unit shall have at least one smoke detector. Why should you care about your smoke detectors?
- Thousands of people still die each year in home fires where smoke detectors are not present
- Although 13 of every 14 homes have at least one smoke detector, almost half of the home fires and three-fifths of fire deaths occur in the share of homes with no detectors at all
- There are now more homes with smoke detectors that don't work than homes without detectors at all. These poorly maintained smoke detector units create a false sense of security among occupants. Approximately, one-third of the homes with smoke detectors that experience fires have smoke detectors that are not working. Hundreds of people die each year in these fires.
Having a working smoke detector in your home reduces your chance of dying by nearly one-half. By properly placing, regularly testing and maintaining your detectors, you can ensure that they are in fact working and will alert you if a fire breaks out.
Proper placement and maintenance of smoke detectors are a must. You and your family's life may depend on your detectors. Proper placement of smoke detectors will help to ensure that the detector will operate when needed. Smoke detectors must be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Test smoke detectors once a month to ensure that your detectors are working to protect you. Test each detector by pressing the test button and listening for the alarm. Replace batteries annually in battery operated smoke detectors to ensure that the detectors will have an adequate power supply to function properly. Clean smoke detectors according to the manufacturer's recommendations to reduce the likelihood of the detector causing false alarms. Replace smoke detectors that are 10 years old to reduce the possibility that detectors, which are near the end of their service life, will not operate due to a reduction in their reliability and sensitivity.
While properly placed and maintained smoke detectors are the most valuable tools available for reducing the number of needless deaths caused by fire, the development of a Home Fire Escape Plan along with smoke detectors can nearly triple the chance of you and your family surviving a fire should one occur in your home. The plan should include two exits from each room, an outside meeting place and a plan to call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's phone. Every member of your family should know what to do in the event of a fire including contingencies for assisting family members, such as infants and toddlers, who would be unable to help themselves.
Fire safety is a life and death matter. Take the time and effort to protect you and your loved ones. If you should have any questions regarding smoke detectors, home fire escape plans or any other fire safety matter, please contact the Santa Clara Fire Department via the Send a Message button at the top of this screen or by phone at 1-408-615-4970 for more information.