Fire chief says it's time to check smoke alarms, replace batteries

With Daylight Savings Time ending and the return to Standard Time, the Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services Department reminds residents that’s its time to test smoke alarms and change the batteries if they’re more than a year old.

In a press release, Chief Shauwn Howell said working smoke alarms significantly increase a person’s chances of surviving a house fire.

“A properly installed 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,” Howell said. “Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert scanning the air for fire and smoke.”

In addition to changing the batteries, Howell recommended the following simple steps to protect residents and their families, and their homes.

• Dust or vacuum smoke alarms when changing the batteries.

• Test alarms once a month using the test button.

• Replace the entire alarm if it’s more than 10 years old or doesn’t work properly when tested.

• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement and both inside and outside the sleeping areas.

• For the best protection, equip your home with a combination of ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual sensor systems.

• Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout your home so that when one sounds, they all sound. Interconnecting alarms are available at most stores that sell smoke alarms.

• Make sure that everyone in your home understands the warning of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.

“Finally, prepare and practice an escape plan so that you and your loved ones can get out of your home safely if there is a fire,” Howell said. “Plan to meet in a place a safe distance from the fire and where first responders can easily see you.”

For area residents without a working smoke alarm, the Fire and Emergency Services Department will provide and install one free of charge. For information, call 543-5150.