New Hampshire State Fire Marshal Sean P. Toomey is asking residents and visitors to stay safe and use increased caution in their homes after multiple fire-related deaths in the state.
So far this year, six people have died in connection to home fires and one person died as a result of a vehicle fire. The home fires occurred in various parts of the state, with most victims in the 65+ age category.
In all except one case, the Office of the State Fire Marshal is unable to verify that the homes had any working smoke alarms. The only fire at this time that the Office can confirm may have had working smoke alarms was in Woodstock on January 8th. The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Nationally, half of home fires take place when people are sleeping. So far in New Hampshire this year, all except one took place between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
State Fire Marshal Toomey would like to remind all residents and visitors of the importance of having working smoke alarms in their homes. Homeowners should ensure they have alarms installed and test them regularly, preferably once a month, to make sure they are working properly. In the event of an alarm activation or visible smoke or fire, residents should immediately exit their home and call 9-1-1. Keep exits clear and accessible at all times, and have a home fire escape plan. Anyone who has questions about fire safety in their home should contact their local fire department or the NH State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Top 5 Smoke Alarm Safety Things to Know
- Smoke alarms should be located inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Components of the alarms will deteriorate over time and can only be expected to work effectively within 10 years of their date of manufacture. Replace smoke alarms that are older than 10 years.
- Interconnected alarms are best. Wireless is an acceptable option.
- Hard-wired smoke alarms should have battery back-up in case there is a power outage.
- Battery powered smoke alarms should be changed twice a year. A 10-year sealed battery is preferred.