55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204
65% of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms at all or no smoke alarms that work. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.
Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Smoke alarms save lives. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.
Smoke alarms are the single most important item to help you survive a fire. While fire doesn’t have to happen, when it does, early warning is imperative for escape. The smoke alarm laws in Oregon have become more complicated in recent years. Here are the facts to help sort it out and make your life safer.
In January of 1998, Oregon law changed for smoke alarms. Where we once asked citizens to change their smoke alarm batteries each time they changed their clock, the advent of the 10 year lithium battery has changed all that.
ANY smoke alarm that has reached the age of 10 years has lost much of its reliability and should be replaced. The replacement must be an Oregon legal smoke alarm in one of three configurations:
Never change the battery in a new technology smoke alarm. The battery will be good but the alarm unit itself simply does not work reliably for longer than the 10 year life span (dust build up in the sensing chamber, reductions in effectiveness of radioactive elements in ionization types, and failure of electronic components). Smoke Alarms using lithium batteries are not under warrantee when the battery is replaced.
The Ionization smoke alarms also have a hush feature. This is a button that silences the alarm when nuisance smoke or shower steam accidentally set it off. By pushing the button, it will silence the device for up to 15 minutes before it resets itself. Taking the battery out to silence the alarm is no longer needed!
None of these features reduce the need to test every smoke alarm every month. There is no guaranteed lifespan for a lithium battery so you may only know its dead when the test does not sound the alarm. Also, the new alarms have the date recorded on the back so its age can be tracked.
Smoke alarms continue to provide the most important protection against death in a fire. Most fires occur in the home and the greatest risk is present when you are asleep. Protect yourself and your loved ones by ensuring your smoke alarms are up to-date, working, and placed properly.
For additional Smoke Alarm information or if would you like to inquire about Portland Fire & Rescue’s Smoke Alarm Program, contact the Public Education Office at (503) 823-3700.
Portland Fire & Rescue
We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
October 13, 2011