Alarms Save Lives
Lt. Scott Ramage installs
a smoke alarm for a senior
citizen living in a condo.
Smoke alarms can saves lives if they are
functioning properly, but studies show that most smoke
alarms don't work because of missing, dead or disconnected
batteries. In fact, most people die in fires because of the
toxic smoke, not the flames. Deadly carbon monoxide
suffocates the body, preventing it from receiving
life-sustaining oxygen. People go into a lethargic state,
and most people die before the fire even gets to them.
Families who have working smoke alarms installed inside each
sleeping area and in common areas such as a living room or
hallway are more than 70 percent more likely to escape a
fire unharmed. Marion County Fire Rescue provides and
installs one dual-mode smoke alarm for residents of Marion
County who cannot afford to purchase their own, free of
charge. MCFR also expanded its "Get Alarmed" Smoke Alarm
Program to include deaf/hard-of-hearing alarms in 2008. Call
MCFR Headquarters at (352) 291-8000 for more information on
the program and to see if you qualify for assistance.
Change Your Clocks; Change Your Batteries
Spring ahead; fall back. When you change the clocks ahead or
back an hour when the time changes, firefighters recommend
changing the batteries in your smoke alarms also.
Click Here to
view our Sounding The Alarm! Postcard
Smoke Alarm Maintenance Tips:
alarms at least once a month by using the alarm's test button
batteries at least twice a year or when the low battery alarm
smoke alarms every 10 years
a battery from your smoke alarms because you will likely forget
to replace it
smoke alarms in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions
Smoke Alarm Installation Tips:
least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, inside every sleeping area
and in common areas such as a living room or hallway
alarms high on walls about four to 12 inches from the ceiling or directly on the
smoke alarms near windows, outside doors or ducts where drafts might interfere
your smoke alarms; paint and other decorations could prevent them from
Other Safety Tips:
hearing impairments should install smoke alarms with louder alarms or strobe
electrician should install smoke alarms that are hard-wired to the home's
everyone can hear the smoke alarm and knows how to get out of the house
fuel-powered appliances or generators should also install carbon monoxide alarms
fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year with family members
two exits from every room, which may include a door and window
Stay low and
go, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches above the floor when escaping
Use the back of
your hand to test doors for heat before exiting
Choose a safe
meeting place outside
Get out and
stay out; never go back inside a burning building for any reason
Call 911 from
outside a burning home from a neighbor's house or by using a cell phone
outdoors; never assume someone else has called for help.
professional to clean and inspect your chimney, furnace and space heaters once a
combustibles, children and pets at least three feet from heat sources
only when adults are present and remember to blow them out when leaving a room
and lighters away from children
bedroom doors closed to slow a fire's progression
Different Types of Alarms Ionization
Smoke alarms have a small amount of radioactive material between two
electrically charged plates, which ionizes the air and causes current to
flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the
flow of ions and reduces the flow of current, activating the alarm.
Ionization alarms respond faster to fast, flaming fires.
Photoelectric alarms aim a light source into a sensing chamber at an
angle away from the sensor. Smoke enters the chamber, reflecting light
onto the light sensor, triggering the alarm.
Photoelectric alarms respond faster to slow, smoldering fires.
faster to fast, flaming
respond better to slow, smoldering fires.
Since photoelectric alarms respond faster to smoldering fires and ionization
alarms respond slightly faster to flaming fires, Marion County Fire Rescue
recommends installing dual-mode alarms that use both technologies. These
alarms are more expensive (retail price about $22), but since citizens can
never predict the type of fire that will occur, this is money well spent.
MCFR uses the "First Alert Ultimate Smoke and Fire Alarm" (right photo) for
its "Get Alarmed" program. This alarm is nuisance resistant and features a
dual sensor. The model number is SA302. To reach First Alert directly, call
(800) 323-9005 Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Central Standard
MCFR recommends installing dual-mode
smoke alarms like
these that use both
the ionization and photoelectric
technologies and offer double the