NEW YORK — With 107 civilian fire deaths in New York state so far this year, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York urges people to inspect their smoke detectors when they turn their clocks back an hour this weekend.
Daylight savings time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4.
FASNY specifically encourages installation of smoke alarms equipped with sealed-in, non-removable batteries that last for 10 years. These alarms do not require any battery changes during their lifespan and are nearly impossible to disable, the organization said in a press release.
"FASNY also encourages the installation of home fire sprinklers, which dramatically reduce civilian fire deaths and injuries, as well as protecting the responding firefighters," it said.
As of Oct. 29, deaths in New York state ranked second in the nation behind Texas, the release said.
"Working smoke alarms are critical in preventing additional fire deaths."
According to the National Fire Protection Association, three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or working smoke alarms, the release said.
"Firefighters frequently encounter smoke alarms with missing or dead batteries, meaning these homes are defenseless against fire."
The fall time change provides an opportunity for families to take a few moments to check their smoke alarms and ensure they are in proper working order, FASNY said.
Most fatal fires happen between midnight and 8 a.m., the organization said, and it takes only a few moments for fire to spread through a house.
Occupants of a burning home may only have minutes to escape before being overcome by the smoke and flames, it said, and working smoke alarms help ensure that people are awakened and able to take advantage of those precious minutes.
TRAGIC YEAR ALREADY
Furthermore, NFPA research shows the presence of fire sprinklers lowers the civilian death rate by 81 percent, and the firefighter injury rate by nearly 80 percent, FASNY said.
“New York state has already experienced a tragic year for fire deaths,” said FASNY President Steven E. Klein in the release.
“This is particularly disturbing considering that winter, the busiest time of the year for home fires, has yet to truly arrive. Installing and maintaining working smoke alarms, particularly smoke alarms with 10-year batteries, is the most important thing people can do to protect themselves and their families.
"Taking a few minutes to inspect and install smoke alarms now could be the difference between tragedy and survival.”
As of April 2019, it will no longer be legal to sell smoke alarms equipped with removeable batteries in New York state, FASNY noted.
"This is an important step in the effort to reduce fire deaths in New York," the organization said.
Here are some tips:
• Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas.
• Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they’re working. Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.
• Interconnect your smoke alarms so that when one smoke alarm sounds, they all do.
• If you have an alarm with a removable battery, be sure to check the batteries every six months, and change the batteries every year. If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you. Do not disable the unit.
• Vacuum or blow out any dust that might have accumulated in the unit.
• Never borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else.
• Never paint a smoke or CO alarm.
• Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window because drafts could interfere with their operation.
• Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan.
• Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing smoke alarms and replacing the batteries.
For more information visit www.NFPA.org.