Did you know that five people have died in residential fires in Portland so far in 2009 where no smoke alarms were found or the alarm did not activate?
For years, "Change your clock, change your smoke alarm battery" was the advice from your firefighters. New technology has changed that. Now firefighters are asking you to "Change your clock, install a new smoke alarm with a 10-year lithium battery."
Any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old has lost much of its effectiveness and should be replaced. A 1998 Oregon law requires that any new smoke alarm sold or installed in Oregon must contain a lithium battery that is expected to last up to 10 years.
Never replace the battery in a new-technology smoke alarm. Instead, replace the entire unit. New alarms are simply not designed to work for longer than the 10-year life span.
The new smoke alarms also have a "Hush Button." This button will silence the alarm when nuisance smoke or shower steam accidentally set it off. Pushing the button will silence the device for up to 15 minutes before it resets itself. By installing a new smoke alarm with the "Hush Button," you will never forget to put the battery back in after a nuisance activation.
None of these features reduce the need to test every smoke alarm every month.
Smoke alarms continue to provide your best protection against dying in a fire. Most fires occur in the home and the greatest risk is when you are sleeping. Protect yourself and your loved ones by checking your smoke alarm today. Replace the old technology with the new: smoke alarms with a lithium battery and hush feature.
If you qualify, Portland Fire & Rescue will provide and install a smoke alarm for free! Call the "Smoke Alarm Hotline" at (503) 823-3752 for details.
October 30, 2009