smoke alarm

“As the time changes, we like to remind people to change their batteries, too,” interim Fire Chief Thomas McMonigle said. “The alert that a smoke detector provides ... can make a difference between life and death.”

As Fire Prevention Week wraps up Saturday and Daylight Saving Time is set to end in early November, first responders are reminding residents to check their smoke detectors and change the batteries along with their clocks.

“As the time changes, we like to remind people to change their batteries too,” interim Fire Chief Thomas McMonigle said. “The alert that a smoke detector provides can provide the seconds needed to exit the building and can make a difference between life and death.”

The Paris branch of the American Red Cross offers free smoke detectors to those in need of one. The Paris Fire Department can also come by and change batteries for those who cannot reach the alarm, or it can replace the smoke detector for those who have limited access to buying a new one, such as the elderly, McMonigle said.

Good Housekeeping also recommends checking the date of manufacture stamped on the device, as smoke detectors lose their functionality after 10 years. The National Fire Protection Association recommends using interconnected smoke alarms so that when one sounds, they all sound, and having smoke alarms installed inside each bedroom and on every level of the home, including the basement.

From 2012-16, almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms — 40% — or no functional smoke alarms at 17%, the National Fire Protection Association noted.

The death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms as it was in homes where smoke alarms worked, it reported.

Carbon monoxide alarms should also be checked. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 42% of households reported having a functional carbon monoxide alarm.

“Carbon monoxide is the invisible killer. It’s a colorless, odorless gas, and it can kill within minutes,” the U.S. Consumer Protection Commission warned in a press release. “ Changing the batteries in your smoke and CO alarms is the easiest way to ensure protection of your loved ones and your home in the event of a fire.”

The priority is prevention — always staying alert and preventing loss of life, McMonigle said.

“Buildings can be replaced. Lives can’t,” he said.

Macon Atkinson is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6963 or macon.atkinson@theparisnews.com.

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