Know the risk, re­place smoke alarms

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -


Ev­ery smoke alarm has an ex­pi­ra­tion date: What’s yours?

The Ce­cil County Fire­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion urges all Ce­cil County res­i­dents to know how old their smoke alarms are and to re­place them ev­ery 10 years .

Does your home have a smoke alarm? Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (NFPA), the an­swer is likely yes. NFPA re­search shows that most Amer­i­can homes have at least one. But do you know how old your smoke alarms are? If you’re like most peo­ple, you’re prob­a­bly not so sure.

A re­cent sur­vey con­ducted by NFPA re­vealed that only a small per­cent­age of peo­ple know how old their smoke alarms are, or how of­ten they need to be re­placed. That lack of aware­ness is a con­cern for Ce­cil County fire com­pa­nies, be­cause smoke alarms don’t last for­ever.

Time and again, I’ve seen the life-sav­ing im­pact smoke alarms can have in a home fire, but I’ve also seen the tragedy that can re­sult when smoke alarms aren’t work­ing prop­erly. That’s why we’re mak­ing a con­certed ef­fort to ed­u­cate Ce­cil County res­i­dents about the over­all im­por­tance of smoke alarms, and that they do have a life limit.

NFPA 72, Na­tional Fire Alarm Code, re­quires smoke alarms be re­placed at least ev­ery 10 years, but be­cause the pub­lic is gen­er­ally un­aware of this re­quire­ment, many homes have smoke alarms past their ex­pi­ra­tion date, putting peo­ple at in­creased risk.

NFPA is pro­mot­ing this year’s Fire Preven­tion Week cam­paign, “Don’t Wait — Check the Date! Re­place Smoke Alarms Ev­ery 10 Years,” to bet­ter ed­u­cate the pub­lic about the crit­i­cal im­por­tance of know­ing how old their smoke alarms are and re­plac­ing them once they’re 10 years old. Fire Preven­tion Week runs Oct. 9-15.

In sup­port of this year’s cam­paign, the Ce­cil County Fire­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion is host­ing a Fire Preven­tion Aware­ness Day at Lowe’s in North East from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 16.

To find out how old your smoke alarm is and its ex­pi­ra­tion date, sim­ply look on the back of the alarm where the date of man­u­fac­ture is marked. The smoke alarm should be re­placed 10 years from that date, not the date of pur­chase.

Joe Fisona is the fire preven­tion chair­man for Ce­cil County Fire­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion.

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