String of Tragic New Hampshire Fires Exposes Gaps in Smoke Alarm Protection

Over the past few decades, there have been great strides in public awareness around home fire safety and prevention. One example of this success is around smoke alarms, which shows that most homes now have at least one installed. But even with measures of progress, we continue to see that more work needs to be done around better educating people about the critical importance of properly installing, testing, and maintaining smoke alarms. 

In New Hampshire, seven deadly home fires have occurred in 2020, collectively claiming the lives of eight people. The common thread between these tragic incidents is that none of the homes had working smoke alarms. In the last five years, 49 people have died in home fires in New Hampshire. In more than half of those fires, smoke alarms were not present. According to NFPA smoke alarm statistics, nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke alarms.

Following are NFPA requirements and recommendations around proper installation, testing and maintenance of smoke alarms:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Consider installing interconnected smoke alarms, so that when one alarm sounds, they all do.
  • For the best protection, use smoke alarms that feature ionization and photoelectric technologies; combination alarms that include both in a single device are available.
  • Replace batteries when the alarm chirps, signaling that the batteries are running low.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

Use this 10-minute mini-lesson to deliver smoke alarm information in an easily sharable format, along with our other smoke alarm resources to better educate your community about their importance and value.

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Cierra Thompson
Public Affairs Intern

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