Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner
About 3,500 Americans die each year in fires and about 18,300 are injured. It is very important to have a working smoke alarm with a working battery in your home. Fire departments recommend that batteries in smoke detectors be replaced when clocks are changed for Daylight Saving Time. Many fire departments even have programs offering free smoke detectors as well as free installation.
The U.S Fire Administration Division of FEMA offers the following safety guidelines for fire prevention:
"Follow these 10 easy tips on smoke alarms:
- One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to have a working smoke alarm that can sound fast for both a fire that has flames, and a smoky fire that has fumes without flames. It is called a "Dual Sensor Smoke Alarm."
- Place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of every level of your home and both inside and outside bedrooms. Children and older people can sleep though the loud sound of a smoke alarm. Make sure your escape plan includes someone that can help children and others wake up immediately to escape from the home.
- If you keep your bedroom doors closed, place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of each bedroom.
- Check smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button.
- Never take smoke alarm batteries out to put into other items like games or remote controls.
- Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear the alarm sound.
- If there is a fire, leave the home right away by crawling low under the smoke and never go back inside.
- If smoke from cooking makes the alarm sound, press the "hush" button, if your alarm has one. You can also turn on the kitchen fan, open a window or wave a towel near the alarm until it stops making the sound. Never take the battery out of the alarm.
- Most alarms need a new battery at least once a year. Some smoke alarms have batteries that last for up to 10 years. If your smoke alarm is over 10 years old, replace it with a new alarm and a new battery.
- If you rent, talk to your landlord about placing a working smoke alarm in your home. You still need to buy a new battery at least once a year for the alarm."
In our business, we frequently see the consequences of not paying enough attention to the life-saving benefits of properly-maintained smoke detectors. Previously, we have posted the following blog entries relating to smoke detectors and Daylight Saving Time:
- CPSC NEWS: Changing Your Clock Means Changing Your Smoke Dectector Batteries
- Reminder: Time to Change Smoke Detector Batteries
- Smoke Alarms: The Most Efficient Way to Prevent Home Fire Tragedies
Please be safe.
About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him "Trial Lawyer of the Year" (2011). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers (2011 edition) and has been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2010)-- national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.