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A soundly-sleeping Lauderdale Lakes woman can thank a smoke alarm and an astute neighbor who called 9-1-1 after firefighters roused her from her smoke-filled apartment this morning. A burning pot left on the stove smoldered and filled the home with smoke around 7 a.m. Friday. Luckily, firefighters got to the woman before the smoke did and she is okay. As we spring ahead to daylight-saving time, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue reminds residents to check and maintain their smoke alarms.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), almost two-thirds of home fire deaths occurred in homes without a smoke alarm or properly working smoke alarm. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.

Test your smoke alarms monthly and choose an annual date, such as the time change, when you will remember to make sure your smoke alarms are in tiptop condition. Check the expiration date on the label and clean dust away from the slots so that smoke can enter freely. Following these simple steps and some tips below from the NFPA will help ensure that you and your family will have the best chance of surviving if fire should strike.

• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

• An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or a combination alarm (photoelectric and ionization) should be installed.

• Smoke rises. Install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save the manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenance reference.

• Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away. Never leave a unit without a battery.

• Smoke alarms don’t last forever. Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10-years-old or sooner if they do not respond properly.

• Be sure the smoke alarm is approved by a recognized testing laboratory.

• If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a hush button. A hush button will reduce the alarm’s sensitivity for a short period of time.

• An ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm should be used if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.

• Children are heavy sleepers. If you have children, test the smoke alarm when they’re sleeping to see if it will wake them in case of a fire. Also consider a smoke alarm that includes a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound which may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice. For people who are hearing impaired, smoke alarms are available that use strobe lights. Vibration devices can be added to these units as well.

Smoke alarms save lives. The Broward Sheriff Fire Marshal’s Bureau distributes and installs free smoke alarms to eligible families in its jurisdiction. To find out more about the free smoke alarm program call 954-831-8210 and select option #2.

This report by:

Mike Jachles/PIO

03/12/10 1430

Posted At: 03/12/2010 02:08 PM

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