Clinica Sierra Vista WIC

Proper Working Smoke Alarms Can Save Lives

Be Alarmed. Be Prepared.

About 3,500 Americans die and 20,000 are injured each year in fires that may have been preventable! Already in 2011, the Bakersfield Fire Department has responded to multiple structure fires and, tragically, experienced several fatalities due to fires in residential occupancies. The Bakersfield Firefighters cannot stress enough the importance of having a working smoke alarm with an operational battery in your home. If you are prepared and have a working smoke alarm in your home, you can greatly lower the chances of your family dying in a fire.

Follow these 10 easy tips on smoke alarm maintenance:

1. Have a working smoke alarm that can sound fast for both a fire that has flames and a smoldering fire that has smoke and/or fumes without visible flames. This detector is called a "Dual Sensor Smoke Alarm."

2. Install a smoke alarm on the ceiling of every level of your home and outside bedrooms. Children and the elderly can sleep though the loud sound of a smoke alarm. Make sure your escape plan includes someone that can help children and others wake up immediately to escape from the home.

3. If you keep your bedroom doors closed, place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of each bedroom.

4. Check smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button.

5. Never remove smoke alarm batteries to put into other items like games or remote controls.

6. Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear the alarm sound.

7. If there is a fire, leave the home right away by crawling low under the smoke and never go back inside.

8. If smoke from cooking makes the alarm sound, press the "hush" button, if your alarm has one. You can also turn on the kitchen fan, open a window, or wave a towel near the alarm until it stops making the sound. Never take the battery out of the alarm.

9. Most alarms need a new battery at least once a year. If your smoke alarm is over 10 years old, replace it with a new alarm and a new battery.

10. If you rent, talk to your landlord about placing a working smoke alarm in your home. You still need to buy a new battery at least once a year for the alarm.

For more information and additional safety tips from the Bakersfield Fire Department, please visit

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Tags: Food & Home, Health

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