MAD RIVER TOWNSHIP – Hustead Fire Chief Larry Ridenour and Enon/Mad River Township Fire and EMS Chief Tracy Young joined forces during the Monday, Oct. 5 Mad River Township meeting promoting National Fire Prevention Month, and are encouraging township residents to install smoke alarms in every bedroom in their homes.
Ridenour said the official theme of the October 2015 campaign is “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm.” He also noted that smoke alarms should also be installed outside each bedroom and on every level of the home, including the basement.
“Working smoke alarms can make the difference between life and death in a fire,” Ridenour said. “Once the smoke alarm sounds, you might have only a few minutes to get out safely.”
According to National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), half of all home fire deaths result from fires that occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. – when most people are home and asleep.
Ridenour recommended that township residents change the batteries in all the smoke alarms in their homes every year, and when changing the batteries, check the expiration date of the smoke alarms. He noted that all smoke alarms have a
manufacturer date stamped on the underside.
“Most of the time, a chirping smoke detector is the first sign that a battery needs to be replaced, but that is not the only reason it will chirp,” Ridenour said. “All smoke alarms need to be replaced 10 years after the date of installation.”
Young cautioned that all smoke detectors do not operate the same way and may leave families with a false sense of security. A photo-electric detector primarily detects smoke in the air from a slow, burning fire, such as a smoldering mattress, and sounds the alarm. An ionization detector quickly senses small amounts of smoke produced by fast-moving flames, which commonly occurs during a cooking fire, and trips the alarm. Therefore, knowing the difference in smoke detectors can determine if a family can escape a fire in adequate time.
According to Consumer Reports lab tests, dual-sensor detectors, which include both ionization and photoelectric sensors, provide the best protection. Battery operated models have also proven more reliable than wireless units that work with smart phone or tablets.
“Tests have proven that some kids can sleep through smoke alarms because they spend more time in deep sleep than adults do,” Young said. “In those situations, I suggest parents consider audio smoke alarms that use the parents’ voices to awaken the children.”
Young noted that families members also need to make an escape plan, and know what to do and where to go if a fire should break out anytime of the day or night.
“Families should choose a meeting place that is a safe distance from the home where everyone can meet,” Young said.
Both Ridenour and Young also reminded township residents to have their furnaces checked and serviced before they turn on their furnaces this fall season.
“As the temperatures drop, more people will be using their furnaces and wood stoves which can be a fire hazard if they are not properly serviced,” Ridenour said. “Residents should have their chimneys checked and cleaned too.”
Young pointed out that furnace inspections can also reveal carbon monoxide leaks, which are hard to detect because the gas is colorless and odorless. He noted that these leaks can lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea and even death.
“It is also important that residents have carbon monoxide detectors and replace their batteries every year and the detectors every 10 years,” Young said.
According to Young, local firefighters will be doing their part to spread fire safety to the community and will be visiting local schools throughout October.
“We have planned a lot of activities at the schools this month,” said Young.
Linda Collins is a freenlance reporter for Greene County News.