OCTOBER 24, 2012

Scottsdale Fire Marshall urges residents: Replace smoke alarms

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Scottsdale Fire Department is calling on all Scottsdale homeowners to change out their older smoke alarms during National Fire Prevention month.  “We estimate that in Scottsdale alone, there could be as many as 52,000 unprotected homes because the smoke alarms are 10 years or older,” said Fire Marshal Jim Ford.

“Smoke alarms are not like fine wine and cheese. They do not get better with age,” Ford said. “The older the alarms, the less sensitive they become and the longer it takes to recognize a fire and alert a family. Since a fire can double in size every two minutes, there isn’t a minute to spare.”

Homeowners need to replace all battery and hard-wired smoke alarms that are 10 or more years old.  A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 10 years after a smoke alarm was installed, only one-third were still operating properly.

Another concern for Scottsdale Fire is making sure higher risk individuals have layers of local protection: smoke alarms, sprinklers and knowing two ways out of a home. “Nationally seniors are most likely to have non-working alarms. They also are the 2nd highest group at risk to die in a fire,” he said.

Even though a person may have a sprinklered home, aging smoke alarms must be replaced. “Smoke alarms are the first line of defense. They typically sound before a sprinkler is activated. These alarms provide a very important early warning that gives residents time to leave their home and call 9-1-1,” he said.

Scottsdale Fire Department has a free program to replace smoke alarms in residences owned and lived in by seniors or individuals living with a disability. To sign up to have a smoke alarm replaced go to www.scottsdaleaz.gov/fire/smokealarmrequestform or call 480-312-1817.

For renters, the Scottsdale City Fire Ordinance requires landlords to ensure working smoke alarms are in the home and inspected annually.