LANSING, Mich. — State officials are urging Michiganders to take some time to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Doing so greatly increases residents’ chances of surviving a house fire, according to a news release Thursday.
“Every second counts and smoke alarms provide the warning you and your loved ones need to be able to evacuate safely,” said Orlene Hawks, director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Last year, 122 people died in 101 fires in Michigan, according to the department.
That’s a 21% increase in deaths and a 13% increase in the number of fatal fires compared to 2019.
In these fires, only 35% of homes were reported as having working smoke alarms.
The state offers the following tips for preventing fatal fires:
- Never remove or disconnect batteries from detectors unless you are putting a new battery in the smoke alarm.
- “Press to Test” smoke alarms monthly using the test button.
- In 9-volt smoke alarms, replace batteries twice a year or when the smoke alarm begins to chirp, signaling that the battery is running low.
- Install a smoke alarm in every bedroom or sleeping area and have one smoke alarm on every level of the home, including the basement.
- For added protection, consider an interconnected smoke alarm system, so that when one smoke alarm sounds all the smoke alarms sound in the whole home.
- Hardwired smoke alarms are more reliable than those powered solely by batteries.
- Newer smoke alarms come with lithium batteries that can last up to 10 years.
- Every 10 years, replace all your smoke alarms, or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.
- Choose alarms that bear the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- People who are deaf or hard of hearing should equip their homes with alert devices like high intensity strobe lights, and pillow or bed shakers that are activated by the sound of a standard smoke alarm.
Carbon monoxide alarms are also important and should be installed on every level of the home and outside sleeping areas.
These alarms need fresh batteries at least once per year, unless they’re powered by sealed, 10-year batteries. They should be tested once per month to make sure they’re working properly.
Carbon monoxide is produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel. It cannot be seen nor smelled and can quickly incapacitate and kill its victims.