There are times that smoke detectors are admittedly annoying—when you mistakenly burn food or when the battery is about to die.
Sometimes people take the batteries out (and forget to put them back in) rather than listen to the blaring alarm, thus placing their family at risk. And some people still don't use them at all.
Smoke detectors can mean the difference between life and death should a fire break out in your home. Fortunately, according to the National Fire Protection Association, about 96 percent of homes have at least one smoke alarm and 75 percent of homes have one that actually works.
The association offers some compelling reasons why it is important to make sure your home has a working smoke detector:
- Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a fire in half but about 3,000 people still die in U.S. home fires each year.
- In 2003-2006, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from home fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- In more than half of the reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate even though the fire was large enough, batteries were missing or disconnected. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected alarms.
- In a 2008 telephone survey, only 12 percent knew that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
- In fires considered large enough to activate a smoke alarm, hard-wired alarms operated 91% of the time; battery-powered smoke alarms operated 75% of the time.
In observance of Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13, we are asking you to be honest about how often you check your detector or change the batteries. And, if your life or the life of a loved one has been saved because of a smoke detector, please share your story with us below.