Nationally and in Oregon, firefighters respond each year to structure fires that injure or kill people where the smoke alarm is not functioning or is missing altogether. Residents understanding the sounds their smoke alarms make and what actions they can take to protect themselves can make all the difference. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms make different beeps and chirping noises to let us know that maintenance is needed. Everyone needs to know what each noise means and what actions you should take to keep your alarms in safe working order.
According to the ten-year data collected from the Oregon Fire Service for the National Fire Reporting System, 250 people have died, and more than 1,400 have been injured in structure fires. In addition, out of the structure fires reported since 2011, over 1,400 incidents reported smoke alarms missing, without adequate power, or disabled. Statistics from the past year show a working smoke alarm in 42% of the structures fires across the state, and 14% of the incidents report no smoke alarm at all.
Fire and Carbon Monoxide Alarms are good at telling us what they need. We just have to listen.
- One chirp or beep means there is an issue with the alarm getting power.
- Recurring beeps or three beeps in a row is the smoke alarm telling you it needs to be replaced.
- If you noticed your smoke alarm is only activated when you’re cooking or using your shower, it might need to be moved to a better location.
- If your smoke alarm is beeping continuously, get low, use your family escape route, and call 911 from a safe place outside.
“This year to mark Fire Prevention Month, the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal asks Oregonians to learn the sounds of their alarms,” says State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. “Knowing the different sounds of your smoke alarm and what to do when it makes a certain sound is the key to saving lives; working smoke alarms save lives.”
On Monday, October 3rd, 2021, the OSFM and its fire service partners will be launching a four-week social media campaign #KnowYourBeepingAlarm to illustrate the importance of knowing what your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are saying. Each week takes an in-depth look at the sound and what actions people can take.
The OSFM has also put together a smoke and carbon monoxide installation guide, which is available in six different languages and can be found on OSFM’s website.
For more information on the sounds smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make and proper installation, please visit the OSFM’s website.