What does your fire alarm chirp mean? Virginia fire officials break it down

Virginia News
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(WFXR) — Fire departments across the Commonwealth want to raise awareness for households about household smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

The state reported 28 people died and 68 were injured by house fires this year as of Sept. 24.

“Having an up-to-date, working smoke alarm in a home can be the difference between safety and disaster. Citizens of the Commonwealth should be proactive- look and listen,” said Billy Hux, Assistant State Fire Marshal.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released important information about smoke detectors:

  • Three loud beeps that are continuous means smoke or fire is detected. Get out of the house, call 911 and stay out.
  • Single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and needs to be changed
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the unit needs to be replaced

“The best time to check your smoke alarms is now. As the winter months approach and more families are staying inside, being aware benefits your entire family, said Garrett Dyer, VDFP Acting Executive Director. Fire prevention week is the perfect time for discussions with your family on how to stay safe.”

Fire officials say there are also smoke alarms and alert devices made specifically for deaf and hard of hearing. You also want to make sure these devices are listed by a qualified testing laboratory. These devices use other methods of alerting people, like pillow or bed shakers. They can be found online and in stores that sell smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.

NFPA released these helpful tips for those who are hearing or visually impaired:

  • You can install a bedside alert device that responds to the sound of of the smoke detector and carbon dioxide alarms.
  • They suggest sleeping with your mobility device, glasses, and phone close to your bed.
  • Keep hallways lit with night lights and free from clutter.

“VDFP hopes that families across the Commonwealth will take these steps and implement them into everyday life,” said Dyer.

With the cooler months, some people may be turning to space heaters as a way to supplement central heating or heat one room. According to the NFPA, two in five deaths from space heater fires involve portable electric space heaters.

The NFPA released a heater checklist that can help keep you and your loved ones safe during the cold months:

  • Purchase a heater with a seal of a qualified testing laboratory
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything can burn, including people
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection
  • Place the heater on a solid, flat surface
  • Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over
  • Keep children away from the space heater
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall oulet. Never use an extension cord
  • Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room or go to bed

For more information, visit their website.

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