Fire prevention: Now is a good time to check smoke detectors

Published 11:39 am Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Last week, Salisbury and Rowan County marked Fire Prevention Week . This year’s campaign was “Don’t Wait — Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.”

“Within the last month in Rowan County, we have sadly lost two lives in house fires,” said Deborah Horne, Fire Division chief with Rowan County Emergency Services. “We know that one of the homes did have working smoke detectors. Last year in North Carolina, 55 lives were lost in house fires. To this date already nationwide, 1,624 lives have been lost.”

The Fire Division receives calls from homeowners and citizens weekly asking about smoke detectors and how to check the date on smoke detectors. To check the date, look at the back of the detector where a manufacture date should be printed or stamped. If the date is before October 2006, then it needs to be changed.

Batteries in smoke detectors should be checked as often as possible, but at least once every six months. One easy way to remember in our technology age is to set a date on your mobile device’s calendar.

All families are urged to have a family emergency plan. Put a plan in place to include for the members of your household to be able to exit if a fire occurs. Use multiple exits or even windows. Have a meeting place that all family members can go once they are out safely so everyone will know and be able to tell the fire department if anyone is still inside.

Half of all house fire deaths happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Conduct surprise drills during the night so that your loved ones will have experience exiting in the dark and going to the pre-determined meeting place.

Rowan County has a local smoke detector installation program sponsored by the Elizabeth Dole Chapter of the American Red Cross. Citizens who do not have a working detector and would like one installed in their home may call the Red Cross office at 704-633-3854 for additional information.

For additional fire safety information, contact Rowan County Emergency Services at 704-216-8900.