Americans are bombarded by more rings, beeps, chirps, and electronic sounds than ever before. Next week, National Fire Prevention Week 2021 (Oct. 3-9) focuses on the importance of understanding what the sounds coming from smoke and carbon monoxide alarms mean and making sure everyone knows how to respond. The campaign is called “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.”
“It’s important that every member of your household, including young children and the elderly, understands what to do when they hear different sounds coming from a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm,” State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “When a smoke alarm chirps intermittently, it means it’s time to change the battery, but a continuous set of three loud beeps – beep, beep, beep – means smoke or fire, and get out, call 911, and stay out. Understanding the difference and taking the appropriate response saves lives.”
Bean shared these safety tips to help Missourians “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety:”
• A continuous set of three loud beeps—beep, beep, beep—means smoke or fire. Get out, call 911, and stay out.
• A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be replaced.
• All smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years.
• Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
- A continuous set of four loud beeps – beep, beep, beep, beep – means carbon monoxide is present. Get outside, call 911, and stay out.
- A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be replaced.
- CO alarms also have “end of life” sounds that vary by manufacturer. This sound means it’s time to get a new CO alarm.
- Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.
Make sure your smoke and CO alarms meet the needs of all your family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities. Remember these tips:
- Install a bedside alert device that responds to the sound of the smoke and CO alarms. The use of a low-frequency alarm can also wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss.
- Sleep with your mobile devices, classes, and phone close to your bed.
- Keep pathways like hallways lit with night lights and free from clutter to make sure everyone can get out safely.
As a reminder, the end of Daylight Saving Time, 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, when clocks are adjusted to “fall back” an hour, can serve as an easy reminder to change smoke and CO alarm batteries once a year. Remember, when you change the time, change the batteries.