ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ)– Having a working smoke detector in your home can be the difference in making it out of a structure alive when flames burst out.
A family in Saxton escaped a fire unscathed Wednesday night thanks to a working smoke detector. They’re easy to maintain, but according to the U.S Fire Administration, defective smoke detectors are still the cause of three in every five home fire deaths.
A fire in Philadelphia turned deadly Wednesday with 12 people being killed. Fire officials say there were four smoke detectors in the structure, but none of them went off.
“The key to surviving any home fire is early detection and notification,” said Altoona Fire Inspector Adam Free. “So you wanna make sure you have smoke detectors on every floor of your house and every sleeping area and if possible have them interconnected so if one goes off, they all go off.”
Free says recent studies show you have up to three minutes to escape a structure once a fire starts.
“Additionally you wanna make sure you have an escape route and you wanna go over it with your family and practice it to make sure everybody knows how to get out of the house if something does happen.”
A non-working smoke detector can provide a false sense of security so Free says it’s crucial to maintain them.
“You wanna make sure you test the battery at least once a month and additionally if the smoke detector is older than 10 years old you wanna replace it.”
If you are having issues installing your smoke detector or it has issues, the Altoona Fire Department will come and help get it up and running.