House fires kill almost 3,000 people each year. Three out of five house fire deaths happen in homes without working smoke alarms. In homes with working smoke alarms, the risk of dying in a house fire cuts in half.
Each year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sponsors Fire Prevention Week™ during the first full week of October. This year’s theme, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!” highlights the importance of understanding smoke alarm safety to protect your family from a house fire.
Smoke Alarm Safety Tips
The National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72) requires that smoke alarms be installed on every level of the home as well as inside and outside each sleeping area. The NFPA recommends the following safety tips to make sure your home has working smoke alarms that give you early warning to quickly escape a house fire.
- Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
- Test smoke alarms at least once per month by pushing the “test” button.
- Change smoke alarm batteries yearly. Safety experts recommend changing the batteries when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.
- Never disarm a smoke alarm while cooking, which is the leading cause of house fires.
If you were injured or a family member was killed because your smoke alarm did not work during a house fire, you may be able to sue the alarm manufacturer, a landlord, and any other responsible parties.
Experienced Fire Safety Lawyers
At Pritzker Hageman, our fire safety lawyers represent burn survivors and families who were impacted by residential fires. In a recent case, we represented the families of two people who died in a high-rise apartment fire because the smoke alarms failed to meet audibility requirements. In other words, the alarms were not loud enough to wake people up.
When our law firm is retained in a residential fire case, we investigate the scene as soon as possible to find liability for things like failure to provide working smoke alarms and product defects. We hold at-fault companies accountable for failing to follow safety regulations that keep people safe.
Pritzker Hageman attorney Raymond Trueblood-Konz has firsthand experience with a house fire that displaced his family. Read his story.
When I was a senior in high school, our family was displaced by a house fire. Fortunately, no one was injured. But the fire turned our lives upside down. We spent months living in a hotel, unsure of when we would go home when our lives would go back to normal. We faced endless delays from contractors, and threats from an insurance company that was all too eager to cut corners. At school, I could feel classmates’ stares as I walked through the hall. When the repairs were finally completed, the house didn’t feel like our home anymore. Years later, I still feel nervous around candles, and jump whenever I hear a firetruck. I will never forget the noxious smell of burned paint, carpet, and plaster, or the fear we had as we watched firefighters battle the blaze.