Fire safety advice amid rise in fire deaths

HADLEY/EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – 19 people have died in fires in Massachusetts since the beginning of the year. Many of those deaths have been linked to smoke alarms that were not working.

The advice to keep may sound obvious and routine, but it’s importance can’t be overstated. Especially as we approach Daylight Saving Time, when you should replace the batteries in your smoke detector.

By the time you hear the sound of a smoke alarm, you have between 1 and 3 minutes to get out. But hearing that sound at all means having a working smoke detector.

At Rocky’s Ace Hardware in Hadley, they told 22News that not all smoke detectors are created equal. Some detect both smoke and carbon monoxide. It runs off of batteries. It can even speak to you.

“Every 10 years you are supposed to replace them. That’s a given. A lot of people are looking more for the battery operated rather than the plug-in because the second your house catches on fire and you have no power you are in a very bad spot,” said Andrea Lopes, a Rocky’s Ace Hardware employee

Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor told 22News a fire safe home ideally would have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and a sprinkler system.

“Those three devices installed in a home, it’s a like having a firefighter sleeping in the next room with you. It’s instantaneous alerting and it will automatically put the fire out,” said Mottor.

The plastic materials used to build a modern home means house fires are burning hotter, and smoke is more deadly. We asked people if they feel prepared.

“I do,” said Alicia Dipietro of Easthampton. “I can’t stand that beeping noise they make so I’m always very careful to replace the batteries.”

Test your batteries once a month and change them twice a year. A fire safe box can save your important documents from disaster. Experts say getting a home fire extinguisher is a personal choice, but they recommend you get trained to use it and caution against using it as a crutch to stay longer in a burning building.

The state fire marshal is working on legislation that would require all smoke detectors to use a lithium-ion battery that can last 10 years. That way, you would never need to remember to change it. Only to replace it once a decade.

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