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Fire safety tips from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs

smoke alarm
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The Virginia Department of Fire Programs State Fire Marshal’s Office stresses that Virginians increase awareness of their household smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

It is imperative that homes throughout the commonwealth remain protected, as this knowledge could drastically decrease casualties and injury caused by fires.

As of Sept. 24, there have been 28 confirmed civilian fire deaths in Virginia, as well as 68 confirmed civilian injuries caused by household fires this year.

“Having an up to date, working smoke alarm in a home can be the difference between safety and disaster. Citizens of the Commonwealth should be proactive- look and listen,” said Billy Hux, assistant state fire marshal.

Knowing what to see or hear when assessing your smoke alarm is imperative. The National Fire Protection Association steps listed below are what every homeowner should be familiar with:

  • A continuous set of three loud beeps—beep, beep, beep—means smoke or fire. Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out.
  • A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be changed.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.

“The best time to check your smoke alarms is now. As the winter months approach, and more families are staying inside, being aware benefits your entire family, said Garrett Dyer, VDFP acting executive director. Fire prevention week is the perfect time for discussions with your family on how to stay safe.”

There are smoke alarms and alert devices that are also made for the deaf and hard of hearing. They use other modes of alerting people, like pillow or bed shakers.

Below are the NFPA guidelines to assist a hearing or visually impaired person with their smoke detection systems:

  • Install a bedside alert device that responds to the sound of the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Use of a low frequency alarm can also wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss.
  • Sleep with your mobility device, glasses, and phone close to your bed.
  • Keep pathways like hallways lit with night lights and free from clutter to make sure everyone can get out safely.

“VDFP hopes that families across the Commonwealth will take these steps and implement them into everyday life,” said Dyer.

For more information on Fire Prevention Week, visit www.fpw.org.