The Oak Ridge Fire Department has responded to a recent NBC news report that raised questions about smoke alarms and their effectiveness, including potential delays in notifying homeowners of fires.
In a press release last week, Oak Ridge Assistant Fire Chief Josh Waldo said there are two types of home smoke alarms available: ionization and photoelectric. The ion type reacts faster to open flaming fires and is usually the least expensive. The photoelectric type reacts faster to smoldering fires, like the ones shown in the NBC report, and is less likely to react to cooking, the release said.
Waldo said there are smoke alarms that contain both ionization and photoelectric technology. The Oak Ridge Fire Department recommends them and installs them as part of its smoke alarm program.
Waldo said smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a home, with more detectors in each sleeping area and directly outside of each sleeping area. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly to make sure they are operating, and the batteries should be changed every six months.
“Change your clocks, changes your batteries is a good reminder,” Waldo said.
Besides working smoke alarms, residents should also have an emergency exit plan that they practice every month when they test their smoke alarms, Waldo said. Exit plans should ensure that all members of a home have two ways out and a safe meeting place outside and away from the house where everyone meets after exiting the home. Mailboxes, trees, or other identifiable areas are good suggestions for safe meeting places, Waldo said.
For more information or help with smoke alarms, call Waldo at (865) 382-7267.
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