Fire chief: Check smoke detectors

Michael Johnson -

GALLIPOLIS — Now that clocks and other timepieces have been adjusted to account for Daylight Savings Time, the city’s top firefighter suggests that now is the time to also change the batteries in smoke detectors.

Gallipolis Fire Chief Keith Elliott recommends that while people are changing batteries, they should also check the manufacture date on their smoke detectors. He says if the smoke detector is 10 years old or older, it should be replaced.

“Having working smoke detectors must be a top priority for everyone,” Elliott said. “No home should be without working smoke detectors.”

According to the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office, more than 3,000 people die in home fires each year in the United States — most of whom are in homes without a working smoke alarm. A working, properly installed smoke alarm lowers a person’s chance of dying in a fire.

How many smoke detectors do you need? The fire department recommends having a smoke detector in each bedroom, in hallways outside of sleeping areas, near heating equipment such as utility rooms, and at least one detector on each floor of your residence, including the basement.

To help eliminate false alarms, avoid placing smoke alarms too close to kitchen and bathrooms, where cooking or steam from showers may accidentally activate it.

Although the fire department has given fire prevention and safety training to more than 1,750 people so far this year, Elliott said everyone should set aside some time with their family to discuss fire safety and fire prevention.

Some topics to talk with your children about, he said, include: “Stop, Drop and Roll,” “Stay Low and Go,” “Get Out and Stay Out” (“Stay Outside and Survive”), “Lighters and Matches are Tools, Not Toys,” and “Have an Escape Plan,” just to name a few.

Fire prevention, Elliott said, is not only for firefighters teaching in the schools. He said it is everyone’s job, especially parents.

“Reinforcing fire safety with our children, practicing an escape plan, having a designated meeting place outside and discussing fire safety and the importance of smoke alarms with our college-bound kids is essential for their safety,” Elliott said.

Michael Johnson

Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.

Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.