Properly maintained smoke alarms save lives. That is a fact that was underscored in the final report recently delivered by the Smoke Alarm Advisory Task Force (SAATF) to State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers.
“People have a much better chance of living through a fire if they have an early warning,” says Marshal Flowers. “Well-maintained smoke alarms on every level of the home and inside each sleeping area provide that warning.” Marshal Flowers also stresses the importance of having an home fire escape plan should the alarm sound.
The SAATF, convened in July 2011, was charged to make recommendations to the State Fire Marshal on how Ohio citizens and residents can best protect themselves from fire through available smoke alarm technologies. The Fire Marshal will continue to review and discuss the final report with the state’s fire safety educators, inspectors and investigators.
Key conclusions include:
- Working smoke alarms save lives. More than 90% of Ohio’s residential fire fatalities have occurred in homes with no confirmed working smoke alarm.
- There are no statistical differences in the performance of the two types of existing smoke alarm technologies – ionization and photoelectric.
- Lack of battery maintenance in smoke alarms is one of the leading causes of failures.
- The way a smoke alarm alerts residents may be more important than the detection technology.
- Emerging smoke alarm technology, labeled third generation, appears to meet or exceed the current performance standards and may provide an even greater choice to Ohioans.
Key recommendations include:
- The fire service should re-emphasize the use and maintenance of smoke alarms; plan and practice exit drills; and predetermine a meeting place for all members of the household.
- Ohio citizens should install smoke alarms that bear the label of a recognized testing laboratory (i.e. Underwriters Laboratory, Factory Mutual).
- A minimum of one (1) smoke alarm should be properly installed and maintained on every level of the home and near every sleeping area.
- Interconnected smoke alarms are recommended to increase the potential to alert all members of the household simultaneously.
- The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) should be revised to provide better data about why occupants fail to heed the alert of a smoke alarm.
The Smoke Alarm Advisory Task Force’s full report is available online at http://www.com.ohio.gov/fire.
Source: Ohio Fire Marhsal’s Office