Smoke detectors save lives [Letter]

March 10, 2014

The tragic deaths of two children and their father in Curtis Bay last weekend are yet another stark reminder that fire can happen anywhere at any time ("Children, adult killed in Curtis Bay house fire identified," March 5).

Since the beginning of the year, 12 Maryland residents have lost their lives in home fires.

The loss of life will continue unless we spread the message of home fire safety. The National Fire Protection Association reports that nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths result from fires in homes in which no smoke alarm was present or in which one was present but was inoperative.

I urge families to not only replace the batteries in their alarms but also to think about the age of their alarms. A state law aimed at reducing home fire deaths went into effect in July 2013. It requires homeowners to replace any battery-only operated smoke alarm more than 10 years old with a unit powered by a long-life, sealed-in battery with a hush button feature. This type of alarm offers 10 years of warning and never needs its battery replaced.

Also, make sure your family has enough warning by placing smoke alarms on each floor, in living areas and in and outside sleeping areas. These simple steps can go a long way to help save lives.

Bruce Bouch, Pikesville

The writer is director of public education and media affairs at the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.

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