The importance of smoke alarm maintenance

KINGMAN – With November dedicated as Fire Prevention Month, the Kingman Fire Department is reminding residents of the importance of maintaining smoke alarms in their homes.

It takes less than 30 seconds for a small flame to burn completely out of control and begin filling a home with thick, black, poisonous smoke, said Keith Eaton, assistant fire chief.

“In just a few minutes, a home can become completely engulfed with flames,” he said. “With the advance notice of a working smoke alarm, residents can escape with their lives.”

Nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms in the home, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Smoke spreads fast, and smoke alarms give you time to get out of the home.

Eaton recommends placing one smoke alarm in every bedroom and in the hallway outside bedrooms. If the home is two stories, smoke alarms should be on both levels.

Kingman Fire Department offers these tips:

• Test every smoke alarm once a month. They have test button that’s easily accessible.

• Check batteries every six months. Don’t ignore the “chirp” that usually indicates the battery is losing power.

• Don’t ignore false alarms. If a smoke detector is having more than its share of unfounded alarms, replace it with a new one.

• At least once a year, vacuum or blow out any dust that may have accumulated inside the smoke alarm.

• Never paint a smoke alarm. Paint can block the vents in the cover, preventing smoke from reaching the sensors.

• Replace smoke detectors every 10 years, depending on manufacturer recommendations. Check for expiration date.

Kingman Fire Department has a program to provide free smoke alarms to residents in the city. The goal is to provide and install lithium battery smoke alarms, regardless of race, income or demographics.

“Our personnel will be providing fire safety education as well as the installation to effect the correct alarm placement and be able to explain to the resident how the detector works and why they are an important tool for early fire protection,” Eaton said.

To learn more about the smoke alarm program, call the fire department at 928-753-2891.