By John Anderson
As Fire Prevention Month comes to a close, Fire Rescue Chief Stephen M. Coleman Jr. told Auburn Mass Daily about an effort to replace older smoke detectors. “In March of 2016, a campaign was launched by fire officials across the state including the Fire Prevention Association of Massachusetts, Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts and the state Fire Marshal. Massachusetts was facing a serious issue: an unusually large number of fatal fires where there were no working smoke detectors.” Between December 1, 2015 and March 5, 2016, there were 28 home fire deaths in Massachusetts, and in nearly 60 percent, there were no working smoke alarms.
As we head into the winter heating season, Coleman is asking residents to take steps to improve their safety by making sure they have working smoke detectors in their homes. Although he still supports the “change your clocks, change your batteries” philosophy that fire officials have promoted for years, the chief acknowledges that as technology changes, so do your options.
Coleman said residents should make sure their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are not more than 10 years old. The Auburn Fire Rescue Department reminds people that smoke alarms do not last forever and need to be replaced every 10 years. Chief Coleman says, “people install smoke alarms when they move into a home and then forget about them.” He also encourages residents that when replacing smoke alarms, consider purchasing ones with a sealed, 10-year lithium battery. “No more changing batteries and no more chirping alarms at 2 a.m.; just replace the entire unit once every 10 years.”
According to the state fire marshal’s office, the lack of operable smoke detectors was a significant factor in last year’s above average number of fire deaths. Occupants only have one to three minutes to escape the toxic smoke in the average home once the smoke alarm has sounded, and detectors with a 10-year lithium battery are the best choice for your family’s safety.
For more information on sealed lithium battery smoke alarms contact the fire rescue department at 508-832-7800 or visit our website at auburnmassfire.org and on Facebook and Twitter @auburnmassfire