Firefighter offers fire safety tips

Published 9:00 am Sunday, November 1, 2015

Replacing the batteries on your fire and carbon monoxide alarms twice a year is an important step to ensure safety, according to Jeffery Laskowske, Albert Lea Fire Department deputy director.

Laskowske said he’s seen local fires in the last year where the smoke detectors didn’t go off after a fire started.

“That’s one of the major issues we have,” Laskowske said.

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He recommended smoke detectors be replaced every eight years and carbon monoxide detectors every five years.

State Fire Marshal Bruce West said fresh batteries are needed in home smoke and carbon monoxide alarms this weekend when clocks are turned back an hour.

West said the peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when most people are sleeping.

“These devices save lives every day, and ignoring them can be a fatal mistake,” West said in a press release.

According to West, the most common reason alarms don’t work is dead or missing batteries.

West cautioned against people removing them for other uses or to eliminate nuisance alarms.

“They’re gambling with their lives,” West said. “When fire strikes, working alarms and a good escape plan become life or death issues.”

West recommends dusting or vacuuming smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when you change batteries, testing alarms once a month using the test button, replacing the entire alarm if it’s more than 10 years old, installing smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement and placing them inside and outside of sleeping areas.

He also advised interconnecting alarms in the home so that when one sounds, they all sound. He said to make sure everyone in the home knows how to respond when alarms sound and to prepare and practice an escape plan to get everyone out of the home safely.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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