The Naval Base Ventura County Federal Fire Department reminds everyone to “fall back” one hour on your clocks before you go to bed Saturday, Nov. 3, and to change your smoke detector batteries at the same time.
The majority of fatal home fires happen at night when people are asleep. Contrary to popular belief, the smell of smoke may not wake a sleeping person. The poisonous gases and smoke produced by a fire can numb the senses and put you into a deeper sleep.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, minimum protection requires a smoke detector outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
Because smoke rises, mount detectors high on a wall or on the ceiling. Wall-mounted units should be hung 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling. A ceiling-mounted unit should be attached at least 4 inches from the nearest wall. In rooms with pitched ceilings, mount the detector at or near the ceiling’s highest point.
Only a functioning smoke detector can protect you. Never disable a detector by borrowing its battery for another use. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, test all your smoke detectors monthly and install new batteries at least once a year. Many battery-powered units “chirp” or give some other audible signal when their batteries need to be replaced.
Clean your smoke detectors. Dust and cobwebs can reduce a detector’s sensitivity to smoke. And never paint one.
In addition to having smoke detectors, you should create an evacuation plan for your family. Know your exit options, and for multi-story dwellings, have a fire escape ladder or some other means to get out safely in the event that the stairwell is inaccessible. Have a prearranged assembly area for your family so that you can quickly account for everyone. This is especially important in households where there are children or elderly people. Practice these drills so that everyone will know what to do in the event of an emergency.
If you have questions or concerns regarding fire safety, call the Fire Prevention Office at Naval Base Ventura County at 989-7034.