Fred A. Mitchell Jr., Fire Chief
47 Central Street
Georgetown, MA 01833
For Immediate Release
Friday, Sept. 9, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Georgetown Fire Department Reminds Residents of Smoke Detector Safety
GEORGETOWN — Chief Fred A. Mitchell, Jr. and the Georgetown Fire Department are reminding residents about smoke alarm safety, especially the importance of having up-to-date and properly functioning detectors in your home or business.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire death and injuries. Three out of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Over the past six weeks, the Georgetown Fire Department has responded to at least six homes where smoke alarms were sounding for no apparent reason, which is usually a sign of a faulty detector. In each instance, firefighters discovered that the detectors were well past their expiration date according to manufacturer recommendations.
Chief Mitchell recommends that residents follow these tips outlined by the NFPA to keep homes safe and prevent fires:
- Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Replace the smoke alarm immediately if it doesn’t respond properly when tested.
- Smoke alarms should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound. Interconnection can be done using hard-wiring or wireless technology.
- When interconnected smoke alarms are installed, it is important that all of the alarms are from the same manufacturer.
- Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.
- Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (life-long) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, a warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
Installing smoke alarms
- Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room, den or family room, or near the stairway to the upper level.
- Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
- Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet (3 meters) from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
- Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Wall-mounted alarms should be installed not more than 12 inches away from the ceiling (to the top of the alarm). If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak (four inches down from the peak).
- Don’t install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
- Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.
If you are unsure about the safety of smoke alarms in your home, Georgetown firefighters will provide a free inspection. To make an appointment or for more information about properly installing or testing smoke detectors, contact the Georgetown Fire Department at 978-352-5757.