Niles area firefighters remind public that detectors save livesPublished 10:09pm Friday, October 23, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Firefighters are the ones who run into the fire as everyone is running out.
Though they are prepared for the possibility of having to run into the fire at any given moment, Niles area firefighters are hard at work doing what they can to prevent that very scenario from happening, and are educating the community about fire safety.
Members of the fire department have been taking to time to head out to area schools, also having a presence at recent festivals to keep residents informed and safe should they find themselves in the unfortunate situation of a fire.
To drive that message home, the fire Niles City and Niles Township fire department is asking resident to do more than just change the clock when time changes at the end of the month: they’re asking them to change their smoke detector batteries as well.
“When people go to sleep, their ability to sense and detect smoke and awaken is drastically reduced,” Niles City Fire Chief Larry Lamb said.
The chemicals and carbon monoxide that can occur with smoke from fire also works against the senses, making it harder for people to wake up.
Based on certain studies, Lamb added, “children have less of a tendency to wake up to smoke detector sounds.”
Citizens are still relatively lax when it comes to making sure their smoke detectors are working and that the batteries have been properly changed. Lamb said there are those who do realize just how important a working smoke detector is – still the need to remind and educate others seems evident.
Standard requirements when it comes to smoke detectors are changing. Lamb said one detector is still required inside each sleeping area and on every floor in a residential home – but newer homes are being fitted with a new system that connects all detectors in the house together.
“If one goes off, they all go off,” Lamb said.
According to information provided by www.firesafety.gov, which combines information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the United States Fire Administration, one report stated that “43 percent of home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms.”
But it’s not just the batteries that residents should mind changing when it comes to the smoke detectors in their home. Lamb said a smoke alarm typically begins losing efficiency after ten years and residents should replace them at that time.
When the department provides new smoke detectors, those particular alarms come equipped with Lithium batteries, Lamb said, which carry a 10 year lifespan, which means that the battery and the alarm would be ready for replacement at the same time.
The department warns, however, that some only last six months – meaning that either way, regularly checking that a smoke alarm is in working order is important when it comes to ensuring the safety of one’s family.
The department urges those who can not afford enough detectors or have other safety questions to call either the City fire department at 683-0160 or the Township fire department at 683-3311.