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With Daylight Saving Time beginning at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8, the residents of the Syosset Fire Department are urged to perform a check of all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes to make sure they are properly installed and have a fresh set of batteries. The FD also recommends that homeowners dust or vacuum their smoke detectors to keep them free of debris, so they can work properly.

"This biannual event is an excellent reminder for homeowners and landlords to change the batteries in their smoke detectors. These devices should be tested and cleaned, as well," said Syosset FD Fire Prevention & Education Officer Ken Johnson. "This practice should become a habit for everyone; a functioning smoke alarm can save lives."

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), local fire departments responded to almost 400,000 house fires in 2007. These fires caused 2,865 civilian deaths and 13,600 civilian injuries, as well as $7.4 billion in direct damage. Almost two-thirds (6 5percent) of reported home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

A working smoke alarm will detect smoke early and an alarm will sound, giving you time to escape the fire," said Syosset FD Chief Thomas Feeney. "Also, it is important to install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement, and near each sleeping area."

Here are some tips provided by the NFPA:

-Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

-An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or a combination alarm (photoelectric and ionization) should be installed in homes.

-Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenance.

-Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.

-Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least twice a year. If an alarm "chirps", warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.

-Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.

-Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

-Alarms that are hard-wired (and include battery backup) must be installed by a qualified electrician.

-If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a "hush" button. A "hush" button will reduce the alarm's sensitivity for a short period of time.

-An ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm should be used if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.

-Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice.

-Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These devices use strobe lights. Vibration devices can be added to these alarms.

-Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.

For more information on fire safety and prevention, visit www.nfpa.org, or contact Ken Johnson at the Fire Prevention Office at 677-4509.


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