Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety

Fire Prevention Week has been held during the week of October 9th since 1925. This week commemorates the tragic Great Chicago Fire as well as the deadliest forest fire in US history which was the Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin. Both of these fires started on the same date, October 8, 1871 and we use this week to promote fire safety through public education. This year, Fire Prevention Week will take place between Oct. 3 and 9, and the theme is Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.
Some sounds are just plain normal in a home. The water running from a faucet, the sound of a microwave, or even the chimes from the family heirloom grandfather clock. But when your smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm beeps, it’s time to act. But do you know what these sounds mean? 
Did you know that the type of sound the alarm makes is designed to mean different things? Knowing the difference between these sounds can be the difference between life and death. Educating yourself to know the difference will remind you how to respond when the sounds go off and help keep you and your family safe.
It is important to read your user guide, review the manufactures website and look at videos online to learn the specifics about the model you purchase. More importantly is sharing this information with the whole family as part of a comprehensive fire escape plan. Although it is impossible to list all this information for all the available smoke or CO models, most fire alarms follow a similar pattern of sounds.
  1. A continuous sounding smoke alarm means smoke or fire. If you hear this, remember your plan and get out of the home to your established meeting place and call 9-1-1. Stay out.
  1. If you hear a single chirp, or a series of three rapid beeps, every 30 or 60 seconds, that means the battery is low and must be changed. Change your clocks, Change your batteries will avoid this problem.  
  1. If you hear a continuous chirping after switching the battery, the detector is most likely at the end of its life and must be replaced. All smoke alarms have a date of manufacture on them and expire every 10 years.
  1. CO alarms have a similar pattern of sounds. A constant set of four loud beeps means carbon monoxide is in your home. Go outside in the fresh air and call 9-1-1.  Do not go back inside.
  1. A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery needs replacing, and if the chirping continues after that, it’s time to buy a new alarm. Replace CO alarms every five to 10 years or as stated in the manufacturer’s instructions.
You can use special devices to ensure everyone, including those with sensory or physical disabilities, is alerted in case of an emergency and when a battery is low.
For example, Hearing Impaired Smoke Alarms have strobe lights that flash to warn people who are deaf or hard of hearing. There are also bedside alert devices, like a pillow shaker, activated by the sound of smoke or CO alarms. A low-frequency alarm can wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss.
Products can be found in home improvement stores, online and on manufacturer websites, and can easily be installed without a professional.
If you have any questions, please contact Strongsville Fire and Emergency Services Department, Office of Fire Prevention at 440-580-3225 or visit us at Strongsville Fire Prevention
Remember, when an alarm makes noises, you must take action.