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Smoke alarms save lives

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Smoke alarms save lives. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast, and residents need smoke alarms to give enough time to get out.

Safety tips:
· Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home so that when one sounds, they all sound.

· An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, use both types of alarms or a combination alarm (photoelectric and ionization).

· Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.

· Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenance.

· Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps," warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away. A good thought is to replace the batteries when daylight savings time stops and starts.

· Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.

· Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

· A qualified electrician must install alarms that are hard-wired. Hard-wired alarms should include battery backup.

· If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a "hush" button. A "hush" button will reduce the alarm's sensitivity for a short period. An ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm should be used within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.

· Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children by using a familiar voice.

· Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These devices use strobe lights. Vibration devices may added to these alarms.

· Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.

For more information, contact the 721st CE fire prevention office at 474-3355 or the wing safety office at 556-7091.

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