According to recent research, the addition of a smoke alarm could give a family valuable time to escape during a fire.
However, as experiments carried out in fire department burn buildings have shown, although many people have smoke alarms, few have them in the right working order.
The matter was discussed by Captain Carlton Jackson the Public Education Officer for Bessemer Fire Department who said “Everyone pretty much has an alarm; they just don’t test it to make sure it’s working properly. We are recommending that you test it every month, once a month.”
His words come as part of a national campaign known as “Change your clock, change your battery” in which homeowners are reminded to check the batteries in their smoke alarms as they change their clocks to coincide with Daylight Savings Time.
As part of the advice and the campaign, the Bessemer Fire Service also gave out free smoke alarms, batteries and flashlights.
One of his colleagues discussed that the importance of a fire alarm was just as important as the specialist training they received with equipment such as an aircraft fire training simulator. He said “”It really makes a big difference. It’s something so small, so simple to do, but it can mean the difference between life and death.”
The statistics which have led to the campaign suggest that 38% of fatal fires in homes occur in those without a working smoke alarm (source: the National Fire Protection Association).
Mr Jackson, a fire fighter commented “People don’t think about it until it happens to them. That’s when they get to start thinking about their smoke detectors and their batteries. People take it for granted. They only think about it when it doesn’t work, and there’s nobody to blame but yourself.”
Without prevention provided by fire alarms, the fire-fighters are often forced to fall back on the training they have received in fire training towers.