Three of five home fire deaths linked to lack of smoke alarms or faulty alarms, national report says
With Daylight Saving Time beginning Sunday, March 13, Sarasota County Emergency Services officials are reminding residents of the community “to take an important step to protect their homes and loved ones.”
Batteries should be changed in smoke alarm and weather radios, the Emergency Services staff advises the public.
“According to key findings of a 2021 National Fire Prevention Association report,” almost three out of five home fire deaths occurred in properties with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that failed to operate, a county news release points out.
The spring time change serves as a good reminder for individuals to replace batteries in smoke alarms and weather radios, the release notes. “These devices can save lives by providing an early warning signal in the event of an emergency. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained can give residents a chance to escape. Weather radios will activate for severe weather watches and warnings, giving residents extra time to react before dangerous weather hits,” the release explains.
Sarasota County Emergency Services Director Rich Collins noted in the release that the following safety tips also could help save lives:
- “Ensure smoke alarms are on every level of the home as well as inside and outside any sleeping areas.
- “Test smoke alarms monthly to make certain they are working properly. A ‘chirping’ sound from a smoke alarm means the battery needs to be changed immediately.
- “Make it a habit to replace the batteries in smoke alarms when adjusting clocks for the time change.”
- Smoke alarms are good for 10 years; then, they should be replaced. “Writing the purchase date with a marker on the back of the smoke alarm helps remind you” when it has reached the end of its 10-year life span.
- “Use weather radios that have Specific Area Message Encoding.” Other than a weekly test, the radio will alert only when there are concerns for the programmed counties.
For additional information regarding weather radios, call the county Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit scgov.net.
Anyone who cannot afford a smoke alarm, or any individual who would like to obtain information about smoke alarms, may contact the Sarasota County Fire Prevention Office at 941-861-2290, the release points out.