The Indiana State Fire Marshal is reminding Hoosiers that it is not only crucial to have a working smoke alarm in your home, but it is also the law (IC 22-11-18-3.5). Working smoke alarms can double the chances of surviving a residence fire.
Indiana had 47 fatalities in 2011 and 2012, due to either non-working smoke alarms or having no smoke alarms at all. This year Indiana has had 22 fatalities.
“Smoke alarms save lives, and a working smoke alarm is the best insurance against becoming a casualty in a house fire,” said Indiana State Fire Marshal James Greeson. “Firefighters too often find that in fatal fires, a home had smoke alarms but their batteries had been removed.”
Most home-fire casualties occur at night when people are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause residents to sleep more deeply, making the chances of survival slimmer.
By Indiana law, all dwellings must have at least one functioning smoke alarm installed outside each sleeping area, and on each level of the building. The smoke alarms must be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Marshal Greeson also recommends the following regarding smoke alarms:
•Test the alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps,” it means the battery is low and should be replaced immediately.
•The smoke alarms themselves should be replaced every 10 years.
•For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home – when one sounds, they all sound.
•Have a fire escape plan and practice it with your children.
•When the smoke alarm sounds, exit the home at once and meet at a set location.
•Once outside, stay outside.