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Fire Protection Equipment Comment: The installation of smoke alarm(s) is required inside of all bedrooms and in any rooms designated for the purpose of sleeping and outside within the proximity of the doors to these rooms. Test all alarms and detectors monthly by both test button and smoke. The installation of Carbon Monoxide detector(s) is required in homes with gas-fired appliances at every floor elevation. The installation of Type ABC fire extinguisher(s) at the kitchen and garage, if applicable, is also advised. Test these devices monthly. Install new batteries yearly when the time changes. Initiate and practice plans of escape and protection for all occupants in case any emergencies arise. The lack of these detectors or equipment is a known safety hazard, remedy, repair, or install immediately. For further information consult your local Fire Department and equipment manufacture. and

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 9, 2007 Release # 07-124


CPSC Hotline: (800) 638-2772

CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

USFA Media Contact: (301) 447-1853

CPSC and USFA Encourage Consumers to Spring Forward with Fire Safety in Mind

News stories reported at least 200 people killed in home fires in first three weeks of February

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Each year, families and homeowners are reminded by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to ensure that their smoke alarms are working properly and have fresh batteries. With daylight saving time coming up on Sunday, CPSC and USFA are adding a new message: use the time change as an opportunity to take a fresh look at your family's fire escape plan.

While smoke alarms have helped save countless lives over the past 30 years, research has shown that children younger than 16 may not reliably wake up when the alarm goes off. The fact that children may sleep through the sound of a smoke alarm must be taken into account when creating the family fire escape plan.

CPSC, USFA, the National Fire Protection Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, and International Association of Fire Fighters all recommend that families conduct a fire escape drill either late at night or early in the morning. This drill will help parents determine if their child/children are awakened by and able to respond to the sound of a smoke alarm. For those children who do not respond, the traditional fire escape plan of everyone meeting at a common location outside the home may leave them at risk. The fire safety community encourages parents and caregivers to assist children in getting to a safe location when an alarm activates at a time when they are asleep.

"No community can put a firefighter on every street corner. Everyone can, however, put a firefighter on duty 24 hours a day and 7 days a week by having and using working smoke alarms in their homes," said USFA Acting Administrator Charlie Dickinson.

"Smoke alarms save lives - everyone should have working alarms on each floor of their house and inside every bedroom," said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "So that even more lives can be saved in the future, the fire safety community is currently working to improve smoke alarm audibility for children."


Consumers should replace their smoke alarms every 10 years since the sensors in these devices can degrade because of environmental contamination and from age. In addition to replacing batteries in smoke alarms at least once every year, CPSC and USFA recommend testing them monthly. Battery backup is an important consideration for those alarms that are powered by your home's electrical system.

Between 1999 and 2003, there were an estimated 356,000 unintentionally set residential fires reported to fire departments annually. These fires resulted in an estimated annual average of 2,500 deaths and 14,000 injuries.

CPSC staff came to the following conclusions about children and smoke alarms in a 2004 report on this issue:

* Children under the age of 16 have longer periods of deep sleep compared to adults

* Current smoke alarms do not reliably wake children under the age of 16.


* Various home configurations and locations of smoke alarms can limit the transmission of sound throughout the house.


* Interconnected smoke alarms can provide earlier warning of smoke and fire and placing them inside bedrooms may provide improved warning when bedroom doors are closed.


CPSC and USFA have produced a new one-minute public service announcement (PSA) on the importance of having working smoke alarms and an effective fire escape plan. To view video versions or hear the audio version, and to see graphics associated with this release, please go to:

Fire prevention and safety links:  

Picture of Label Stating: Don't wait for a fire in your home to test your smoke alarm and develop a fire escape plan...DO IT NOW - Test your smoke alarm and regularly replace its batteries. - Develop and practice your fire escape plan with your family. Picture of Smoke Alarm Placement Suggestions, stating: Place One Smoke Alarm on Every Floor and Sleeping Room     


Fire place links:


CHIMNEY SAFETY TIPS presented by Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)


  • Dirty woodstove glass? Try dipping a dampened piece of newsprint in the fine white ashes after your fire has died. Whip it onto the glass in circular motions -- it works well if the glass isn't terribly dirty to begin with.
  • Putting a chimney cover or chimney cap on top of your flue can save you a lot of money in the long run. The covers keep out damaging moisture, which wears away masonry and steel chimneys -- not to mention that they keep birds and other critters out.
  • The National Fire Protection Association (in NFPA 211) recommends you have your chimney checked at least once a year, and cleaned if needed. Heavy users need more frequent check-ups.
  • If you have a newer EPA-rated woodstove, you might have a catalytic combustor in there somewhere. Make sure to check the owner's manual about cleaning it -- and stick to the schedule. Combustors should last 5 or 6 years, but a clogged or dirty one will fail rather quickly.
  • Do you have a smelly fireplace? Chimney Breath is most often caused by moisture, rain, or high humidity. Have your chimney cleaned early in the spring to make the humid summer days less odiferous.
  • Ever wonder what wood is the best to burn as firewood? Oak is an American favorite. Other hardwoods are also a good choice. You can burn other softer wood also, as long as it is split and dried long enough. It's much more important to burn dry wood than to worry about what kind of wood it is.
  • Do you know what to do during a chimney fire? Call the fire department and exit the house -- just like any other house fire. Many people choose not to do this, but if the fire does spread, don't you want the firefighters there already?
  • Springtime is the right time to get your chimneys checked! Sweeps are generally less frantic in the spring (vs. the crazy fall season) and if your chimney needs repairs, they can be made before the cold weather hits!
  • Mild winters mean more chimney fires! It's true. People choke back their woodstoves in mild weather -- leading to more creosote accumulation -- but many don't realize this, so they skip getting it cleaned, thinking it doesn't need it as bad as it would after a cold winter.
  • Black stove pipe (and furnace pipe, for that matter) should be securely fastened together at each joint with no less than three sheet metal screws or pop-rivets. Stove and vent pipe should be inspected at least yearly, and replaced when signs of rusting or wear are evident.
  • Gas logs release a lot of water vapor when they are burning. You should be wary of mold and mildew, especially if you have asthma and respiratory problems, when using them for longer than a few hours. A CO detector is a great gas-log accessory. You can find one in many home-improvement and mass chain stores.
  • Have your chimney checked every year (no matter how you heat your home) to make sure the chimney can do its job to properly vent hot, toxic gases and carbon monoxide from the heating system to the outdoors.
  • To help reduce creosote build-up in your wood-burning chimney system, burn only well-seasoned hardwoods. If you don't know how to build a hot, safe fire, ask your CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® for tips on proper wood-burning techniques.
  • If you own or are planning to install a high-efficiency gas furnace, ask your CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® to check that the furnace is vented in accordance with the National Fuel Gas Code.
  • Have a high-quality, long-lasting chimney cap installed to keep out debris and prevent birds, animals and insects from nesting in your chimney.
  • Following a violent storm, earthquake, flood or lightning strike, have your chimney inspected for damage -- inside and out. This includes checking for cracks and fallen bricks. For safety's sake, DO NOT USE YOUR CHIMNEY until it is checked by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector to warn of harmful gases that may be entering your home because of a blocked or damaged chimney.
  • Have your chimney waterproofed to prevent long-term corrosion and masonry damage.
  • Have your chimney flashing (the seal between the chimney and the roof) inspected and maintained. Flashing prevents rain water and snow melt from entering your home and causing costly damage to your walls and ceilings.
  • Save energy dollars and eliminate unpleasant off-season odors. Have a sealing damper installed in your wood-burning chimney system.
  • Have your chimney sweep ensure that your chimney has an appropriate liner. Chimney liners are required in new construction to separate hot heating system emissions from the structure of your home.
  • Spring is a good time to schedule an annual chimney check by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®.