Smoke alarms save lives: how to make sure you're prepared - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Smoke alarms save lives

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Being prepared could mean the difference between life and death during a fire.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, "a properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you're awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke."

According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.

There are many different smoke alarms available, but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, "It cannot be stated definitively that one is better than the other in every fire situation that could arise in a residence. Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different, yet potentially fatal fires, and because no one can predict what type of fire might start in a home, the USFA recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with:

•Both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms, OR

•dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors

In addition to the basic types of alarms, there are alarms made to meet the needs of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound"

Smoke alarms cost between $6 and $40, depending on the kind and brand.

You should install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement.

According to experts, many fatal fires begin late at night or early in the morning.

That's why the U.S. Fire Administration recommends installing smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas.

If you have any questions about prevention, call Birmingham Fire & Rescue at 205-250-7540.

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