October is Fire Prevention Month, and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue wants to remind you to check your smoke alarms. It’s important to “hear the beep where you sleep” and make sure every bedroom has a working smoke alarm.
The majority of people who die in a fire succumb to heat and smoke inhalation, not flames. Having working smoke alarms in your home greatly increases your chances of surviving a fire.
Fire is nothing like what you see on television or in the movies. It produces dark and deadly smoke that can fill your home in minutes, and can confuse you to the point that you never make it out. That is why every firefighter wears an air pack before entering a burning building and uses thermal imagers to search for victims.
Most fatal fires happen at night when people are sleeping. Working smoke alarms are designed to activate early to help ensure that you and your family have time to safely escape from your home.
TVF&R offers the following advice to help protect your family: To ensure maximum protection, install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. Check your alarms monthly by pushing the test button and replace smoke alarms 10 years old or older. Hard-wired alarms — those wired directly into home electrical systems — should have a battery back-up. Never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms. An alarm’s hush button allows you to temporarily silence the alarm. Develop and practice a fire escape plan with the entire family that includes designating a meeting place outside. If your smoke alarm sounds, immediately exit your home, call 911, and stay outside.
Oregon law requires working smoke alarms in all rental dwellings. If you rent and do not have working smoke alarms, contact your landlord or property manager. If working smoke alarms are not installed after you have notified your landlord or property manager, call TVF&R at 503-649-8577.
Smoke alarms are also available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These alarms use strobe lights or vibration to alert residents.