Safety Tip of the Week: Making fire safety a priority

This week Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, provides information about making fire safety a priority.

Spring is that time of the year when we as a community “spring” forward and set our clocks ahead. It is also a great opportunity to make fire safety a priority. It is a time to remember smoke alarms in our homes as a key part of the home fire escape plan. Working smoke alarms give you an early warning so you and your family can get out quickly. When you changed your clocks forward this spring, did you check your smoke alarms also?

Just like at school, employees need to practice fire safety at home. Early warning alarms can protect us at home, as well as at work. If you missed checking your smoke alarms when you moved the clocks ahead an hour, now is a great time to get them checked out.

These safety tips are provided by the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area and on every level of the home, even in the basement. Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound. If you have a battery operated alarm, change the batteries every six months.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use both types of alarms in the home.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.


  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level. Smoke alarms should be connected so when one sounds, they all sound. Most homes do not have this level of protection.
  • Roughly three out of five fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working alarms.