Smoke alarm safety and reminders

Published 4:15 pm Friday, August 11, 2017

Town of Columbus Fire and Rescue Department reminds residents about smoke alarm requirements and recommendations.

Lt. Andrew Kegley says smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire. According to the nonprofit  National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, roughly two-thirds of all fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Essentially, there are two different types of smoke alarms: ionization and photoelectric. An ionization alarm is typically more responsive to a flaming fire such as a pan fire. A photoelectric alarm is typically more responsive to a smoldering fire, as might occur where a lighted cigarette is dropped on a sofa. Combination smoke alarms have ionization and photoelectric capabilities.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In accordance with NFPA, the Town of Columbus Fire and Rescue Department recommends installing either combination alarms, or both types of alarms, in bedrooms, as well as throughout the home. Whatever type of smoke alarms you choose, make sure they carry the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

“Smoke alarms detect and alert people to fire in its early stages, giving people the time needed to escape safely,” says Kegley. That’s why it’s so important for every home to have them in all required locations, including bedrooms.”

The Town of Columbus Fire and Rescue Department offers the following tips for making sure the smoke alarms in your home are maintained and working properly:

• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home.

• Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button, and make sure everyone in your home knows their sound.

• If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.

• Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they’re ten years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.

Columbus residents with questions and/or concerns about updated smoke alarm requirements may contact The Town of Columbus Fire and Rescue Department at 828-894-3667. They can also visit

On July 29 the Town of Columbus Fire and Rescue Department partnered with the American Red Cross for a community smoke alarm install event. The purpose of this event was to install new smoke alarms, provided by the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal, in high fire-risk areas of our fire protection district.

Participants of the event installed a total of 37, 10-year battery life, alarms in residences that were canvassed and deemed high-risk. The installation of these alarms ensure that residents who received them are safer. The Town of Columbus Fire and Rescue Department will be partnering with the Red Cross for future smoke alarm installation events.

– article submitted by Andrew Kegley