Yuma, Arizona - Every week YFD personnel respond to calls from residents whose smoke alarms are sounding. Fortunately this doesn’t always involve a fire, it involves a resident needing assistance with the alarm. Frequently this is just a matter of the batteries needing to be replaced, and an alarm the resident is not familiar with. Often this is a late night disturbance for the resident (why does that always seem to happen at 2:00am?) that could have been avoided by regularly changing the batteries.

Last year more than 3000 people died in fires here in the United States. It is estimated that half of those who died may have lived, if there had been a working smoke alarm in the home. Most homes these days are equipped with smoke alarms, but due to poor maintenance (often batteries are found to be dead or disconnected) many fail to work properly when a fire occurs.

Batteries should be replaced at least once a year and alarms tested monthly (and alarms replaced every 10 years). Combine these tests with doing home fire drills (your kids do them at school and they are even more important at home!) and your children will be more likely to recognize the sound of the alarm and take the proper action in a real emergency. Smoke alarms do save lives, and they are some of the cheapest insurance you can buy, but they will do no good if they are not working properly.

For more information about fire and injury prevention, contact the Yuma Fire Department Public Information Office at 928-373-4855