ST. ALBANS, WV (WOWK) – House fires have been on the rise around West Virginia, and some of them have been deadly. Firefighters want to stress the importance of having working alarms to save lives.
This week is Fire Prevention Week in West Virginia, and the theme is Learn the sounds of Fire Safety. St. Albans Fire Marshal Chris Collins says many people don’t know the difference between the sound of a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm. It’s important to have both.
“If you hear the smoke alarm go off, that has a series of three beeps. If you hear the carbon monoxide alarm activate, you’ll notice the carbon monoxide has a series of four beeps,” Collins said.
From January 1, 2021, through October 4, 2021, there have been 33 fire-related deaths, which firefighters say is too high before peak fire season.
“Unlike smoke, you can’t see, smell, taste carbon monoxide, so what we find is a lot of folks tend to ignore the alarm because it seems as if though nothing is going on, but in reality, their house is filling up with carbon monoxide,” Collins said.
Alarms should be replaced every 10 years and checked often to make sure they’re working properly.
“Each alarm should be tested at least once a month and you can do that by easily pushing the test button on both alarms. The batteries should be replaced twice a year or when you hear it have a single chirp,” Collins said.
In addition to making sure you have working alarms, it’s also best to take extra precautions around your house.
“Make sure if you’re cooking, especially with the holidays coming up because kitchens account for the majority of residential fires; have a fire extinguisher in case there’s a grease fire,” Collins said.
If your alarms do go off, it’s best if you immediately exit your house and call 911 so professionals can come to take a look.
If you need a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm or need them replaced, St. Alban’s fire department will install them for you for free if you live within city limits.