In a year during which Missourians have focusing on health and safety, State Fire Marshal Tim Bean is urging Missourians to take some simple steps to make their homes and families even safer this weekend.
At 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, clocks “fall back” one hour as daylight saving time ends, providing us with an extra hour to think about fire safety.
“Each fall as we set our clocks back, we encourage Missourians to test their smoke alarms and change the batteries, but this year, we’re urging folks who don’t have smoke alarms to take advantage of the opportunity to get one installed in their homes at absolutely no cost,” State Fire Marshal Bean said. “Having working smoke alarms in your home is one of the simplest steps you can take to improving your family’s chance of surviving a fire.”
Bean said about 60 percent of fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms and that one-half of home fire deaths occur overnight, while people are sleeping and might not wake up until it is too late. When people are awake, smoke alarms provide an early warning to a fire.
Bean urged Missourians without working smoke alarms to take advantage of free smoke alarms offered by many of Missouri’s local fire departments and the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross’ “Sound the Alarm, Save a Life” program not only offers residents smoke alarms at no cost, the alarms are installed by experts and families are trained on how to best escape their homes during a fire. Missouri residents can also register to participate in the free smoke alarm program online at https://getasmokealarm.org/. The Red Cross is currently accepting requests by delaying installations due to COVID-19. Bean recommends everyone utilize this weekend to test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, change alarm batteries and practice their family fire escape plans.
Across the nation, according to the United States Fire Administration:
• Three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms.
• Thirty-eight percent of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarm was in the home.
• The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
• One-half of home fire deaths occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep.
Bean also reminds Missourians to have carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas that results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, which can be deadly if undetected.
The fire marshal makes these recommendations:
• Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pushing the test button.
• Replace smoke alarms every 10 years because they lose their effectiveness over time.
• Install additional smoke alarms if you don’t have a minimum of one on every level of the home, inside all bedrooms and outside bedrooms.
• Plan two different escape routes from your home and practice the routes with the entire family.
• Each family member should know two routes out of each room in the residence and know where the family will gather outside in the event of a fire.
• Overnight guests should know two routes out of the house before going to bed.