Fire officials remind public of importance of smoke detectors
HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WENY) -- After five children were killed in a house fire In Erie Pennsylvania, the initial investigation is revealing there was only one working smoke detector in the home, and it was located in the attic.
Fire officials in Horseheads are now reminding the public about the importance of working smoke detectors inside the home. Officials say of people who die in fires across the U.S. every year, a majority of deaths are due to a lack of smoke detectors in the home.
It's recommended to have at least one detector in each floor of a house, one outside of each room where people sleep, as well as one at the top or bottom of each staircase. But it's also just as critical to know what to do when that alarm goes off.
"In addition to smoke detectors, it's very important to have an escape plan and to train, especially if you have younger children or elderly people in the house. You need to be able to get out once the smoke detector does go off. So formulate an escape plan, utilize it and train with it," explains Dirk Wheeler, Assistant Fire Chief at Town & Country Fire Department.
There are two different types of smoke detectors, ionization and photoelectric. Ionization is for a fire which is more flame than smoke and photoelectric is for a smoldering, or smoking, fire. If you have questions or are in need of financial assistance for a detector, there are programs to help.
"For those that can't afford smoke detectors or if you're not sure if you have enough in your home, there's a program through the Red Cross called 'Sound the Alarm' which Town & Country Fire Department participates in where we can come and install free smoke detectors if your home, Wheeler says.
There are also now new regulations in surrounding detectors and batteries installed in New York State.
"In April of this year, New York State passed a law that any smoke detectors that are sold now and installed in New York State have to have a 10-year sealed battery or have to be hardwired into the home. It doesn't affect smoke detectors that were currently installed before the law took effect. Anything that you're going to replace, you're going to have to get one with a 10-year battery or have one hardwired," Wheeler explains.
If you're detector has been in the home for a while, you can check the date from the manufacturer on the back of the unit.