Help reduce local house fires with these five life-saving smoke alarm tips

It only takes five minutes for a residence to become engulfed in flames, and two minutes for a fire to become life-threatening, according to

Those statistics, are not unfamiliar to local firefighters, especially this time of year.

“We respond to an average of five house fires each month,” said Ahoskie Fire Chief George Michael. “Most of the fires we’ve had to respond to recently over the holidays have been kitchen fires. However, overloaded electrical circuits with electric heaters are also frequent culprits in residential fires during this time of year.”

To help ensure your safety during a house fire, Michael stressed the importance of working smoke alarms.

According to research by the National Fire Protection Association, the risk of dying in a house fire is 55 percent lower in homes with working smoke alarms than in those without one.

What follows are important things to keep in mind to make sure these devices are working properly to help ensure your safety:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement.
  • Replace batteries twice a year unless you are using 10-year lithium batteries.
  • Replace the entire smoke alarm unit every ten years or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking; it can prove to be a deadly mistake.
  • Audible alarms are available for visually impaired people, and smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for the hearing impaired.