Free smoke detector batteries offered in Hoover Oct. 15

When was the last time you checked your smoke alarm batteries? It may seem like a mundane household task, but the few seconds it takes to replace your smoke alarm's batteries could save your and your family's lives if there's a fire.

A battery store in Hoover is encouraging the public to keep their smoke alarms up-to-date with a 9-volt battery giveaway set for this Saturday, Oct. 15. One free 9-volt battery per household will be given away during the event, which will be held at the Hoover Batteries Plus location at 5619 Grove Blvd. in Hoover.

The battery giveaway has been scheduled to coincide with National Fire Prevention Week, which is observed Oct. 9-15.

"Since the 1970s, when smoke alarms first became widely available to households in the United States, the home fire death rate has been cut in half," Tim Massey of the Hoover Batteries Plus said.

Around two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes that don't have a working smoke alarm, according to the National Fire Prevetion Association. The NFPA also estimates that in 25 percent of reported fires in homes that do have smoke alarms, the devices don't go off because of disabled or dead batteries.

"We want to help people understand that the presence of a smoke alarm alone can't save lives – it has to have batteries that work," Massey added.

Batteries Plus recommends changing your smoke alarm's batteries every 12 months and checking them monthly.

Fire Prevention Week also promotes having a fire escape plan for your household. Estimates show that less than 25 percent of Americans have a fire escape plan that they practice.

"Checking your smoke detector is imperative and can save your life and the lives of your loved ones, but knowing how to get out of your home is just as important. We want to make sure people are safe and we have the tools to help avoid senseless deaths," Massey said.

In honor of National Fire Prevention Week, Allstate Corporation has compiled the follow fire safety tips:

  • Check the batteries in your smoke detectors often.  Keep extra batteries on hand and replace them every six months.
  • Check your smoke detectors monthly.  Replace any that are 10 years or older.  Make sure everyone knows that the piercing sound means danger, and they should escape quickly.
  • Position detectors smartly.  Place one on every level of your home and near areas where you and your family sleep.
  • Keep detectors away from heating and cooling ducts and at least six inches from where walls and ceilings meet.
  • Keep fire extinguishers handy.  Make sure there's at least one on each floor – especially near the kitchen, garage, laundry room and workshop.
  • Talk with your family and make sure everyone knows what to do in case a fire breaks out.  Make sure you have two ways out of your house.
  • Create a fire safety plan, with a designated meeting place.

The following tips are for residents of high-rise buildings in the event of a fire:

  • Go down the window fire escape if your building has one.
  • If your building does not have a window fire escape, take the following actions:
  • 1)      Feel the door to the hall with the back of your hand.  If it is hot, put a wet towel along the floor crack to keep smoke out.  Go to the window and wave a colorful cloth to catch the attention of firefighters.
  • 2)      If the door to the hall does not feel hot, leave the apartment and go down the nearest stairs.  In the event of a fire, never try to take an elevator.  If the power in the burning building fails, you could be trapped.
  • If the hall is filled with smoke, get down close to the floor and crawl to the nearest stairs.  You will breathe in less smoke if you stay low.