Working smoke alarms save lives

Working smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a structure fire. That’s the message behind this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month.”

Unit Chief Nancy Koerperich, of the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit of Cal Fire, would like to remind residents about the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home and testing them monthly because.

“One of the greatest tragedies for firefighters is the loss of life due to the lack of properly working smoke detectors,” Koerperich said.

According to the latest national research, working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire by half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

“Smoke alarms save lives,” said California State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover. “Having more than one properly placed smoke alarm can significantly increase your chance of surviving a fire. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out. Be sure to test your smoke alarms regularly.”

Cal Fire wants to stress the importance of having smoke alarms and encourage everyone to take the necessary steps required to update and maintain their home smoke alarm protection. Smoke alarms are one of the best and least expensive safety devices you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family and your home. Cal Fire knows that in the event of a home fire, properly installed and maintained smoke alarms could save your own life and those of your loved ones by providing time to escape.

* Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

* Make sure all smoke alarms are interconnected. This way, when one sounds, they all do.

* Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.

* Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they don’t respond properly.

* Develop a home fire-escape plan, designate a family outdoor meeting place and hold an actual home fire drill with your entire family.

For more fire safety tips, visit your nearest Cal Fire station or the Cal Fire website at

- Cal Fire