Residential fires kill approximately 5,000 people every year in the U.S. with most deaths occurring in fires at night while families are asleep according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
"Properly installed and maintained, the home smoke detector is considered to be one of the best and least expensive means of providing an early warning when a fire starts" asserted CPSC Chairman Terrence Scanlon.
He suggested that smoke detectors be tested monthly to make sure they are working properly. Fresh batteries should last about a year. Worn out batteries should be replaced promptly.
If you are bothered by "nuisance" alarms the Commission urges Consumers not to disconnect their smoke detectors. Smoke from the kitchen, fire place or space heater may trip the detector alarm, but CPSC advises "keep your smoke detector operational otherwise it won't do its job if a fire starts."
The Commission points out that there is no doubt that smoke detectors do save lives, prevent injuries and minimize property damage by enabling residents to detect fires early.
The risk of dying from fires in homes where detectors are not installed and maintained is twice as high as in homes that have functioning ones.
Finally, the Commission urges that at least one smoke detector be placed on every floor of the home. The most important location is in the bedroom area away from air vents or high air flow. Consumers are also advised to rehearse an escape plan so that if the smoke detector sounds everyone will know what to do.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.
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