Do you have them?
Are they working?
Submitted by: Bengie Leverett, Public Fire – Education Officer, Columbia Fire Department
Working smoke alarms provide an early warning of a fire, giving people additional escape time. As a matter of fact, working smoke alarms increase your chance of surviving by more than 50%. Time is of the essence for anyone in a fire but even more so for senior citizens. The Columbia Fire Department is dedicated to help all of our citizens in Richland County. Smoke alarms should be in every bedroom, just outside the bedroom and on every level. They should be replaced every 10 years and the batteries should be replaced every 6 months. Test and clean the alarms every month.
Smoke alarms should be in every bedroom, just outside the bedroom, and on every level. They should be replaced every 10 years and the batteries should be replaced every 6 months. Test and clean the alarms every month.
According to the South Carolina State Fire Marshal’s Office, from 2012 to 2017, 21 people were killed and 65 people were injured by fire. Most of the fatalities were older than 50, with 43% being older than 65. NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) states that in 2009 to 2013, smoke alarms sounded in more than half (53%) of the homefires reported to U.S. fire departments and three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or no working smoke alarms (21%).
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is extremely dangerous. It is called the silent killer and the only way you can detect carbon monoxide in your home is with a working carbon monoxide alarm. If you have an attached garage, a gas fire place or any gas appliances, you need a Carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. In January, 2017, the Columbia Fire Department installed a CO alarm in a senior citizen’s home. Several weeks later that alarm sounded off when the homeowner was asleep at night. The homeowner woke up and dialed 911. When one of our fire trucks arrived, the firemen found traces of carbon monoxide in the home originating from the gas heating/air conditioning unit. Without a working carbon monoxide alarm the home owner might not have survived.
The Columbia Fire Department has an ongoing Smoke/CO alarm program and will come to your home to conduct a home safety survey. Upon completion of the assessment, our team will install or replace your smoke alarms and/or carbon monoxide alarm if needed. These alarms are free as long as we have them in stock.
Who qualifies for this program and how does one sign up? You qualify if you live in Richland County; there is no cost. Type or click on https://colafire.net/smoke-alarms-and-carbon-monox-ide-alarms/? to request a home safety survey. You may also contact the Public Fire Education Officer by phone or by email: Bengie Leverett, Public Fire Education Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-545-4162
Keep in mind that the Columbia Fire Department only covers Richland County so if you live in another county you will need to contact your local fire department to inquire if they have a similar program. We do ask that if you live in an apartment complex, that you contact your landlord/owner if you need smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms. The Columbia Fire Department offers many free services for our communities and we take pride in what we do. Education is the key and we are determined and focused on sharing information, resources and guidance in the endeavor to keep Richland County fire safe. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms save lives. Please allow us the opportunity to play a part in saving yours. Have a fire safe day!