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State Fire Marshal recommends testing smoke alarms, reviewing fire escape plans

Working smoke alarms reduce risk of dying in fire by one-half

JEFFERSON CITY – State Fire Marshal Tim Bean recommends Missourians use the return of daylight saving time this weekend to test home smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

At 2 a.m. Sunday, March 12, clocks spring forward one hour. Bean also urges families to practice their fire escape plans. Safety experts recommend families practice their home fire escape plans at least twice each year.

“Many devices are now available to make us safer in our homes, but one of the simplest and most effective ways  you can protect your family is to invest in smoke alarms and check them monthly to make sure they’re working,” Fire Marshal Bean said.

“The great majority of residential fire deaths occur in homes that do not have working smoke alarms,” he added.  “We urge folks to test their smoke alarms monthly. Getting into the habit of checking them when changing your clocks takes very little time and makes a tremendous difference to your family’s safety.”

Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a fire by one-half. About one-half of home fire deaths occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep. That is why it is important for all family members to be able to act react quickly and get out. Each family member, including children, should know two escape routes from every room in their residence.

This information should be shared with overnight guests, too.

Bean also reminds Missourians that they should have carbon monoxide alarms for their homes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas that results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, which can be deadly if undetected.

The fire marshal makes these recommendations:

*   Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pushing the test button.
*   Replace smoke alarms every 10 years because they lose their effectiveness over time.
*   Install additional smoke alarms if you do not have a minimum of one alarm on every level of the home, inside all bedrooms, and outside bedrooms.
*   Plan two different escape routes from your home and practice the routes with the entire family. Families should also select a safe gathering place outside the residence in the event of a fire.

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