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130 N Second St.
Chambersburg, PA 17201
717-263-5872 Tel
717-261-3296 Fax

Current Statistics

BLS Calls 380
Fire Calls 58
BLS Calls 4,351
Fire Calls 995
Fire Drills 7
Fire Prevention 40
Firehouse Tours 15
Public Displays 26
Attendance 6,989
Child Seat Installation 164
Smoke/CO Alarm Installation          590

Check Your Smoke Alarms

Daylight Savings Time for most means time to change the clocks and adapt to the new daylight schedule, but for fire departments, it signifies the time of the year to remind everyone to change batteries in smoke alarms as well as complete a few simple safety checks. The National Fire Protection Association reports that each year there are over 350,000 home structural fires in the United States, which unfortunately also accounts for over 2,600 civilian deaths. Many of these fires start by unattended cooking, improper usage of heating appliances, or the overloading of electrical distribution systems within homes.

Having a properly installed and operating smoke detector is essential for early detection of a fire that could be a matter of life or death. Modern day fires burn quicker and produce highly toxic gases that can quickly overcome individuals within their home. Each year, almost sixty-five percent of fire deaths in residences occurred where there were no smoke alarms or alarms that were made inoperable by removing the battery.

How often should you test your smoke alarm? Each smoke alarm should be tested once every month to ensure that the battery is not dead and that the alarm is operating properly. To test your smoke detector, hold down the test button until you hear a loud alert tone. In some cases, you may need to press the button again to turn the alarm off. During the testing process, the manufacture date of the alarm should be noted as the life expectancy of smoke alarms is around ten years. Newer homes have interconnected alarms that if one goes off, all of them go off. Follow all manufacture recommendations when replacing smoke alarms. An additional recommendation is to look for alarms that have ten-year lithium batteries that do not need replaced every six months, and to look for alarms that have a “hush” feature where the alarm can be silenced for a few minutes if an unintentional activation occurs. This “hush” feature is on many modern alarms to prevent someone from deliberately disabling the alarm and in return it not properly notifying in a true emergency.

In addition to testing the smoke alarm, they also should be vacuumed at least once every six months in order to remove any dust buildup and cobwebs. When vacuuming smoke detectors, make sure to use a soft brush attachment around and along each of the vents. After each cleaning, the alarm should be tested again to verify it is operating as it should.

Each family should also develop a fire escape plan of their home. This escape plan should have a primary exit as well as a secondary exit in case one is blocked by smoke and fire and should include a pre-arranged meeting place. Routinely reviewing this escape plan as well as practicing day and night could save valuable seconds when escaping a home fire. These plans should be reviewed with house guest and updated if renovations take place within the residence.

For more information on smoke alarms or fire safety in your home, please contact your local fire department or visit the links below. If you are a resident in the Borough of Chambersburg, the Fire Department has a wonderful fire prevention and community safety program that provides at no cost smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and address signs. For more information, please contact the station at 717-263-5872 and on-duty personnel will be able to assist with more information.