Checking smoke alarms could save a life

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JEFFERSON CITY - After the deadly fire in Lake Ozark, officials from the Division of Fire Safety are working to remind people how important smoke alarms are and how they could save a life.

There have been more than 30 fatalities in Missouri from house fires in 2018. In all of these cases, only one had a working smoke alarm.

State Fire Marshall Tim Bean said he thinks most people don't think about the smoke alarm until a tragedy hits.

"We as humans, we get complacent. Out of sight, out of mind. Normally, twice a year when you turn your clock back or move you clock forward, that's a good platform to remind people, hey check your battery and smoke alarm," Bean said.

Some smoke alarms have batteries while others don't, but no matter what kind you have, 10 years is the max life of an alarm.

"As the industry has evolved, these style of smoke alarms now are 10-year alarms which means once you mount it, you don't have to worry about changing the battery," Bean said.

He stressed, even with the 10-year alarms, you can't leave the alarm and forget it. His department wants to remind people to make sure it's working anytime you think about it.

"An easy way to check it, press the button look at the light," Assistant Fire Marshall Greg Carrell said.

If the light on your device blinks green, it is working. There is also a feature to test the alarm and make sure the sound is working also.

The Missouri Division of Fire Safety is teaming up with the American Red Cross for the Sound the Alarm initiative. Fire departments across the state and volunteers will install these kind of smoke alarms in any homes in need for free. 

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